Living Well: 100+ firefighters get additional training on strokes

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – When someone suffers a stroke, every minute matters. Now some firefighters are getting additional training that could help the next time they respond to the scene. 

“The quicker we can recognize the symptoms of it, and get the patient to the ambulance and the hospital, the better chance they have for recovery,” says Jason Burroughs, Conway Fire Captain.

A one time, 8-hour course, is helping Conway firefighters with additional training on stroke. Sharon Aureli brought the class to firefighters after learning there was a need for it.

“Time is brain. So for every minute that we prolong someone getting diagnosed or treated for a stroke, they’re losing 2 million neurons per minute,” says Sharon Aureli, Baptist Health ASLS Instructor.

The class is called Advanced Stroke Life Support (ASLS). It essentially builds on top of what firefighters already know. Getting the call and responding to the scene is the first step, but knowing how to treat each patient is just as important and that’s why Conway firefighters are going the extra mile to make sure they can save more lives. ASLS gives firefighters hands-on skills training where instructors will simulate stroke syndromes. Firefighters also get to perform neurologic assessments.

“First responders, paramedics, EMTs are better equipped and trained to recognize you’re having a stroke,” says Mack Hutchison, Quality Manager at MEMS.

The goal is to understand the 5 main stroke syndromes and why early treatment can reduce the risk of disability.

“Helps us to be better firefighters which then turns into how we can be better servants of the community,” says Capt. Burroughs.

Over the last 2 years, they’ve trained more than 1200 people through this instructional class. Baptist Health and the Arkansas Department of Health teamed up to make this possible.

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