MFPD continuing to offer citizens superior service

‘Call the Tune’ by Mike Anthony

By Mike Anthony

The Mehlville Fire Protection District continues to improve how emergency medical service is delivered to its residents.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise, given how MFPD officials have been striving since 2005 to enhance the services the district offers to residents. In the fall of 2005 the department launched its advanced life support pumper program, improving both emergency response times and lifesaving capabilities.

Under the direction of Chairman Aaron Hilmer and Treasurer Bonnie Stegman, who were elected to the Board of Directors in April 2005, the district that fall began hiring only firefighter/paramedics, allowing Mehlville to launch the program in which the district’s pumpers provide advanced life support instead of just basic life support for medical emergencies.

Mehlville’s reputation as a destination district is spreading statewide. A recent article in the Columbia Tribune reported that Columbia Fire Chief Randy White said his department is losing firefighters to the MFPD, citing Mehlville’s pay, which is more than his city pays its battalion chiefs.

Under Hilmer, Stegman and board Secretary Ed Ryan, who first was elected in 2007, the district’s first-rate administrative staff continues to find ways to deliver superior service to residents, as evidenced by the recently launched critical care paramedic program.

Since the beginning of the year, the board has approved the hiring of 13 paramedics for the program. Critical care paramedics have the ability to perform advanced clinical patient assessments and provide invasive care beyond the standard scope of treatment to patients.

The MFPD is the only fire department in St. Louis County with a critical care paramedic program, according to Chief Brian Hendricks.

“We’ve heard from other fire districts in St. Louis County. We’ve heard from other fire districts in the region, saying, ‘What you’re doing is terrific. How did you do it? How did this work?’ We’re not reinventing the wheel. We are on the cusp of changing emergency medical services in South St. Louis County …,” he told the Call.

The program is such a success that the chief plans to hire six more paramedics before the end of the year, and the district just received 68 applications for those six positions.

In his campaign this spring for a third term on the board, Hilmer said the MFPD is “better than it’s ever been.”

We couldn’t agree more.