Special Operations Division
To further enhance our ability to serve our citizens, in 2006 GCEMS established the special operations division. This division builds on our standard services of 911 response and inter-facility transports and expands into several specialty areas of EMS. In 2007 the division was expanded once again, this time to include a technical rescue team. The programs contained within the division include:
Bike Medic Program
Tactical Medic Program
Wilderness Medic Program
Technical Rescue Program
Technical Rescue Program: In 2007, it was decided to expand our capabilities to include technical rescue. Our local fire department does not perform such rescues, and Glacier County Search and Rescue has limited personnel, equipment and funding. By obtaining the equipment and having our personnel trained in technical rescue, we can not only be self-sufficient if a rope rescue is required, but we can also be of assistance to regional SAR units if mutual aid is requested. Several of the GCSAR members who have rope rescue experience are also members of our department, which makes them even greater assets to our department. We look forward to being able to serve our community in this new area of rescue.
Bike Medic Program: In 2006, a grant was received from Northwestern Energy that was to be used for the purchase of an EMS response bike. A Schwinn SX2000 mountain bike was purchased, and shortly after was equipped with a NightSun siren, Lightman strobe light system, a back rack and equipment panniers. The department decals used on the bike are reflective, designed to enhance visibility and safety. The bike is utilized as a patrol and response bike during outdoor events in our community, and has already proven it's worth, with seven patients being treated at the 2006 Montana Fun Weekend. In addition to it's main purpose, a bike medic is highly visible, enabling us to interact with the public easier. The bike allows us to promote bike safety to youth as well. Thank you to Northwestern Energy for making the program possible.
Wilderness Medic Program: In 2006, Glacier County EMS implemented a wilderness medic program to better serve our remote areas of the county, as well as to provide a paramedic to Glacier County Search and Rescue. If the SAR team is called up for a mission, the SAR commander can request a paramedic response from EMS. This allows us to provide Advanced Life Support care immediately upon gaining access to a patient in the wilderness or remote area, saving precious time in starting life-saving treatment. Glacier County EMS purchased a Conterra ALS Extreme wilderness pack in June, 2006, which is a specialized medical kit designed for SAR, ski patrol, and special operations. The pack is worn as a backpack, and provides ample space for medical equipment. The packs rugged construction allows it to be used in the harshest of environments and withstand the rigors of EMS special operations. The pack carries emergency medications as well as equipment for emergency airway management, fracture stabilization, bleeding control, IV fluids and much more. GCEMS hopes to put some of its personnel through a formal wilderness medicine program in the future.
Tactical Medic Program: Glacier County EMS provides a trained tactical medic to our local SWAT team. Our tactical medic is a certified Critical Care Paramedic, as well as a trained, active reserve deputy and SWAT member with the Glacier County Sheriff’s Office. Our tactical medic is trained to participate in all aspects of SWAT operations, functioning side-by-side with our local law enforcement officers to provide immediate Advanced Life Support care to anyone in need during a tactical operation, whether it is a citizen, law enforcement officer, or a suspect. Tactical medics undergo the same training as the other SWAT members, and are required to attend frequent training sessions to maintain their tactical and firearms skills.