Firefighters can and do get there first, and time is critical in a medical emergency. Every Andover Fire fighter is cross-trained in Emergency Medical Services.
In the early days, fire stations were strategically located so the crews could quickly get to burning buildings. Obviously, time is an important aspect of firefighting, because flames can rapidly spread through a building. The ability to quickly respond to a fire provides more time to rescue people inside, and save property by suppressing the blaze in the early stages. It soon became apparent that the firefighter's ability to "get there fast" could be used for other types of emergency response, such as heart attacks, strokes and trauma.
Four minutes is a critical time frame for someone who has experienced a heart attack, injury, or other illness that makes them stop breathing. The heart and brain have a better chance of full recovery if they receive oxygen in four minutes or less. After that, a person can suffer brain damage or worse. Our firefighters, many of them educated to the level of paramedic, can use life saving techniques including defibrillation and medications to help prevent death or permanent injury. These life saving techniques are much more effective if they can get to a patient within the first four minutes.
The Andover Fire Station is part of a much larger dispatch system. The system is designed to provide adequate emergency coverage for the citizens who live here, by carefully managing response resources. Fire stations are not isolated or randomly located. They are strategically positioned to provide the best coverage with the least expenditure of resources.