Newton Fire Department Expands Life-Saving Capabilities -

Newton Fire Department Expands Life-Saving Capabilities

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NEWTON, NC – The Newton Fire Department will now be even more visible around town. Newton City Council recently voted to use the agency in a primary role for medical emergency situations.

“Whenever the EMS crews and rescue squads are dispatched, the fire department will be dispatched,” said Newton Fire Chief Kevin Yoder.

Chief Yoder says the fire department has been providing this service on an as needed basis for nearly five years. The vote from Newton City Council means the department will now send a four person crew once a call is received. In the past, the department waited for EMS or rescue squad personnel to request its assistance.

The move is expected to increase response times, according to Chief Yoder. He believes the fire department is better geographically positioned to arrive at the emergency situations before EMS or the rescue squad.

“When you have three fire stations located strategically throughout the city and one EMS base or one rescue squad base located within the city,” he said. “It just makes sense that personnel can get there from three facilities strategically located rather than just from one that is centrally located.”

Captain Jackie Lail says the fire department's new role will be a benefit to the people of Newton.

“We’re there a whole lot quicker than the EMS crew,” said Lail. “We’re able to start life-saving procedures a whole lot faster and hopefully get the patient stabilized before they get there.”

Newton firefighters received training as emergency medical technicians and rescue technicians approximately 10 years ago, according to Chief Yoder.

While there will be additional costs to provide this service, Yoder believes they will be minimal.

“It will be fuel costs, it will be some additional wear and tear on the vehicles, some medical equipment that we will have to replenish on a regular basis," Yoder said.

Catawba County Emergency Services Assistant Director Mark Petit says the move will be a positive one for Newton.

“The rescue squad relies predominantly on volunteers and, especially during the day when volunteers are working, they may not have the number of people that are able to respond as in the evenings,” Petit said. “So, having an enhancement to it, in collaboration with the fire department, is a benefit to the citizens.”

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