Andrew Freeborn

Medical Units Help, Even While Training

BAKERSFIELD, Calif., For decades the men and women of the Kern County Fire Department have been providing critical emergency medical care to those in need. You would be hard-pressed to find a day that an Engine Company was not instrumental in saving a life. In recent months, however, a new expansion of service is adding to the stellar reputation KCFD has in emergency medical care.


In November of 2023, Medic Squads were deployed into the unincorporated areas of Oildale and Rosamond. On day one Medic Squad 63, stationed in Oildale, was credited with saving a life.


On Monday, April 15, 2024, another milestone was reached. Personnel on a KCFD Medical Unit were credited with regaining a pulse in a cardiac arrest patient. How did this come about? Monday, the new KCFD Medical Units entered their last phase of academy training. This portion of field training allows them to respond to medical emergencies under the supervision of veteran firefighters. Once deployed, you could hear the new Medical Unit identifiers broadcast across the dispatch channel as they responded to emergencies. Med Unit 6 was one of these units and they were dispatched to a memorable medical emergency Monday afternoon. The response normally would include two Engine Companies. In this case Med Unit 6 replaced one of the two Engine Companies, allowing one Engine Company to remain available for fire or rescue emergencies. Med Unit 6 was first to arrive and once on scene they were met by the patient’s family outside. You can imagine the anguish as they told the firefighters, “Others are inside performing CPR.” The EMT, Paramedic, and veteran Fire Captain leapt into action. The expertise of the Paramedic on scene was invaluable as several Advanced Life Support interventions were initiated. Within several minutes of arriving at the patient’s side the concentrated efforts of fire personnel were rewarded, the patient in cardiac arrest regained a pulse! A moment every first responder lives for.


This example shows how valuable the expansion of medical services is to our community. The new Medic Squads and Medical Units, funded through Measure K, continue to improve the level of response and care for those in unincorporated areas of Kern County. As the official go live date for the Medical Units approaches, we are excited to think of the many benefits they will bring.

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