Mendenhall Fire Chief Brandon Wester appeared before the Mendenhall Board of Aldermen on July 7 to field questions about the department responding to medical calls.
Wester explained that several fire departments respond to medical calls. He said that Mendenhall Fire Department has been working towards establishing the capability to offer medical services for over two years. Wester said it has not been uncommon to wait for an ambulance to arrive in Simpson County for over 45 minutes. He said the department is fortunate to have several emergency medical responders which give them the capability to respond and assist with medical calls.
Mendenhall volunteer firefighters have already begun assisting with medical emergency calls according to Wester. They are responding using the departments brush truck or in their personal vehicles whenever paged out. He described situations where the fire department’s assistance would be necessary, such as lifting a heavier person or taking rotations administering CPR.
Wester discussed funds that are received from the county to assist in buying new equipment. He explained that each fire department in the county is on a 7 year rotation in which they receive a larger portion of the millage from the county for the purpose of buying new equipment. Wester said Mendenhall just received their portion last year which was used to purchase the latest fire truck. Her asked that the Board of Aldermen address the county supervisors to ensure that this money continues to come. The board agreed to look into the matter.
Wester also requested that the board consider putting a dedicated internet connection at the fire department. He said power glitches happen occasionally around the city which cause the fire department to lose their internet connection. Wester said without internet the department loses paging capability and it also affects the police department’s CAD system. The internet connection for the fire and police departments are currently linked to City Hall. If City Hall is affected by a power glitch then the internet connection often needs to be reset by a City Hall staff member. Wester expressed concerns about the system going down in the middle of the night without anyone noticing, leaving the fire department blind to any incoming emergencies. He offered a solution of wiring City Hall into the emergency generator at the fire department so it never loses power. He also suggested installing a redundant system linking the police department, City Hall, and fire department. The board acknowledged his request and agreed to explore possible fixes.