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SF Emergency Responders Describe Roles



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When officials respond to emergencies, a lot of parties are involved, from the police, to fire rescue and emergency medical responders.

At the Sioux Falls city council meeting on Wednesday, a handful of Sioux Falls entities came together to talk about their roles in serving the public.

Each agency plays a vital role when helping someone in need such as taking the initial 911 call.

For emergency officials, Wednesday’s meeting had a purpose, which was to tell the city how they work hand-in-hand to keep the community safe.

"How do we respond to medical calls," said Chief Jim Sideras.

Fire Chief Jim Sideras said that's the number one question he wants the public to know the answer to.

Responding to emergencies is a joint effort between numbers of agencies.

"Sioux Falls Fire rescue, Metro 911, the dispatch center, rural metro ambulance," said Sideras.

Daren Ketcham with Metro Communications said Minnehaha County receives nearly 175,000 911 calls per year.

The initial call is used to determine the type and level of response.

"Type meaning ambulance, fire truck, policeman. Level meaning, is this a non-emergent situation or is this an emergency situation," said Ketcham.

Most calls are for medical reasons, such as someone falling, having breathing problems or traffic accidents.

Captain Skip Miller with the Sioux Falls Police Department said officers respond to provide basic first aid and to decide whether an incident is an accident or a criminal act.

Miller also talked about an inherent danger to officers when using lights and sirens while rushing to emergencies.

"We do try to avoid that if possible and only do it when absolutely necessary," said Miller.

He says Nationwide, 52 officers were killed in the line of duty resulting from car accidents.

Jeff Helm with the EMS said their role is to provide basic life support, such as CPR.

"90% of our code three calls we have to respond to and get on scene in travel time in less than five minutes and 12 seconds," said Helm.

With each agency having their individual roles, they all share a common goal.

"That we're providing that highest level of care to the public and were meeting their needs and even exceeding what they expect," said Sideras.

Sioux Falls EMS has planned to launch what’s called an early intervention smart phone app on January 8th.

This app will alert citizens in the area of an emergency that someone is in need of CPR in which case they may be closer to helping a person before officials get there.

Two other agencies that play a role in responding to emergencies are rural-metro ambulance and hospitals.
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