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FIRE PREVENTION WEEK DAY 3: Paramedics response to mega code calls

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WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL) - Along with fighting fires, Waterloo Fire & Rescue also does a lot of paramedic work. Responding to falling accidents to cardiac arrest calls, 80% of the department's dispatch calls are actually for paramedics and ambulance.

Therefore, for day 3 of Fire Prevention Week, the department took KWWL's Alaina Kwan along for a step-by-step simulation of a cardiac arrest call at the Hazardous Material Training Center in Waterloo.


  1. The call is dispatched to the department.
  2. On cardiac arrest calls, both an ambulance and firetruck are dispatched together because it takes more than two people to handle the call.
  3. When arriving on scene, EMS immediately start the CPR and defibrillation process.
  4. EMS go through their list of protocols and administer drugs if needed.
  5. If needed, they will increase to the paramedic level and get them in the ambulance.
  6. From there, medics keep doing CPR, administer IV's, intubate the patient to help them breathe, and hook them up to an AED if needed.
  7. They continue their work until they reach the hospital.

According to Battalion Chief Bill Beck, 911 services in Waterloo go through the department.

"911 services in Waterloo are run by the fire department, so it's an important thing to keep in mind during fire prevention week," Beck said, "every paramedic in Waterloo Fire & Rescue is a firefighter first."

After the pandemic increased their call volumes, Beck also said their crew had to roll with the punches and constantly stay up to date  with protocols to provide the best care possible.

"Here the Waterloo fire department is very proud of who we have for paramedics, they have the best skills, the best here for all the people here in town," Beck said.

The department hopes this segment can inspire people to learn CPR and be able to perform it in an emergency. Paramedics said if there's a bystander on scene that can start compressions before EMS gets there, it can be more life saving than what paramedics can do in the ambulance minutes after.

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