In case of an emergency it must go fast. In rural regions in particular, however, it often takes a long time for rescue teams to reach their destination. That is why so-called first responders or Helfer-vor-Ort Einheiten (HvO) have been founded in many places. So also in Metzingen. First responder means first response. A first response or. First aid to a patient.
At the end of 2001 the successful project First Responder started at the fire department Metzingen. "In the beginning, we were eyed skeptically – after 20 years, it's hard to imagine the first responder system without it," emphasizes Metzingen's fire department commander Hartmut Holder. He and Jürgen Späth introduced the first-responder system at the Metzingen fire department back then. To be precise, the first first-responder system in a volunteer fire department in Baden-Württemberg. Before that, however, some obstacles, including political ones, had to be cleared out of the way. After the first missions, acceptance grew. The system became established.
The trigger for the introduction of the first responder system was an emergency not far from the fire station. A person collapsed. Suffered a cardiovascular arrest. The full-time firefighters were unaware of the accident. In 2001, Metzingen did not yet have its own rescue station and the connection conditions without a complete bypass road brought time disadvantages for the rescue service. "With the support of the city, we set about making a start on the first responder story," explains Hartmut Holder.
Around 45 firefighters trained as paramedics at the Metzingen fire department. Several paramedics. Even a paramedic were there. The first responders from Metzingen carried out the first-aid project in cooperation with the Metzingen chapter of the German Red Cross. The fire department responds to medical emergencies on weekdays from 6 a.M. To 6 p.M.; the DRK takes over the nighttime hours and the weekend. A command vehicle with medical equipment and an automatic external defibrillator (AED) were available for the first responder missions. Today, a total of four vehicles are equipped with identical additional "first responder" equipment. Every year, the first responders are called out on about 150 missions. Thus shortening the therapy-free interval until the arrival of the rescue service.
With the introduction of digital alerting in 2005, a first responder group was also set up in the Glems district of the volunteer fire department. In Glems, they go out on medical missions around the clock, 365 days a year.
The spectrum of missions ranges from surgical to internal emergencies to childbirth. This is what happened in 2016. In a doctor's office it turned out that a birth was imminent. With combined efforts, a baby boy was successfully delivered. The ambulance service that arrived then brought the new mother to the hospital. Your child to a clinic for further care. A special experience that the two first responders from Metzingen will probably remember for the rest of their lives.
"As a rule, we are on the scene within three to four minutes," reports Hartmut Holder. We have a great time advantage when it comes to life-threatening conditions. "We've saved a lot of lives," said the fire chief. For every minute that elapses before cardiopulmonary resuscitation is initiated, the patient's likelihood of survival is reduced by about 10 percent. "Several times we have successfully performed resuscitations. By the time the rescue service and the emergency doctor arrived, the patients had their own heart rhythm again," adds Hartmut Holder. Sometimes people even drop by the fire department and thank them for their help. "Without you guys, we wouldn't be here". A pleasant moment when one could help and receives a thank you for it.
In order to be ready for a wide variety of missions, the first responders regularly attend further training courses. In addition to internal and external training events, many take the opportunity to train as trainees on an ambulance.
The Metzingen First Responder System. A success story!