Thursday, February 7, 2019, was a day that passed quietly for most of our county. But for the folks that serve our community it was quite different. The day started out with the fire department and ambulance service responding at 6:10 am to a call on the east side of town. This was followed by an ambulance call for a patient in serious condition.

A short while later the ambulance service responded to another call, which also turned out to be serious. Before the ambulance was on scene, an additional call was received for a person in critical condition. As the next available ambulance arrived on scene, two more serious calls for assistance were transmitted.

With 4 calls in less than 15 minutes and no available ambulances, the fire department responded to the locations of these three of these calls and rendered first aid to the patients until other ambulances arrived. At the same time mutual aid was requested from Hasty McClave Fire and Ambulance and from La Junta Fire Department. Both services sent ambulances to cover the pending calls and all patients were safely transported to the emergency room in La Junta. The fire department crew then helped the medical crews from La Junta, Hasty, and Las Animas quickly load and transport the patients.

While it is impressive that we were able to get the four seriously ill patients from four different areas of our community to definitive medical help in a reasonable amount of time, the real eye opener is something else. It’s not the fact that the fire department and the surrounding services were so quick to help the ambulance service. We assist each other multiple times during the year. What has completely impressed us is the Bent County Sheriff Office’s role.

While it is true that in the past the Sheriff’s Officers have often come to the scenes of our fire and ambulance calls, Sheriff Six has directed his personnel to be much more interactive with our two services. Since the second week of January, officers have responded to 97% of all fire and ambulance calls. Beyond their responding, they have also assisted on scene and even sent extra personnel to drive the ambulances when needed.

During this event and thanks to the improved cross-training program in the Sheriff's Office they were able to assist us further. One officer was able to stay on scene with one patient continually giving updates on the patient’s condition to the ambulance coming to the scene.

The on-duty dispatcher and one of the jailers, who are also part time EMTs with the ambulance service, were relieved of their normal duties and sent to assist the fire personnel on scene with the two pending calls until the Hasty and La Junta ambulances could take the patients to the hospital.

In speaking to Undersheriff Turner, he told us the sheriff is dedicated to ensuring public safety and being proactive in ensuring that every person in Bent County gets the help they need when they need it.

Turner went on to say they believe it is important for all the service agencies to work together to ensure the county's citizens and visitors receive the best possible care for their life and property. He also said the Sheriff’s Office are implementing a number of changes to keep it running efficiently so they can do the job they are intended to do.

While the new leadership has only been on board for a month, our two services have seen many good and positive changes. The administration of the fire and ambulance services appreciate the efforts of the Sheriff’s Office and believe the future looks much better for our citizens.

A combined article from the Ambulance Service and the Fire Department serving the western half of Bent County.