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Firefighter/medic trains for ‘high-threat’ medical response


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Courtesy photo by Matt Fisher, PGPD. From left, Deputy Chief Craig Howard, Prince George’s County Police Department; PGPD Maj. P. Eliadas; Lt. Michael Buffum, Prince George’s Fire/EMS Department; PGFD Battalion Chief Michael Marino and PGPD Deputy Chief Hector Velez.

Courtesy photo by Matt Fisher, PGPD. From left, Deputy Chief Craig Howard, Prince George’s County Police Department; PGPD Maj. P. Eliadas; Lt. Michael Buffum, Prince George’s Fire/EMS Department; PGFD Battalion Chief Michael Marino and PGPD Deputy Chief Hector Velez.

Published on: Friday, July 12, 2013

By Mark Brady

Lt. Michael Buffum graduated June 7 from the county police department’s Emergency Services Team school.

A Prince George’s County firefighter and medic, Buffum was recently assigned to the Tactical Emergency Medical Program, jointly overseen by Prince George’s County police and fire departments. The program’s objective is to provide medical response in situations posing a high threat.

“This is an important milestone for the department and Lt. Buffum,” said Battalion Chief Michael Marino, the program facilitator. “The TEM Program will place emergency medical resources at or near the point of injury, which is far forward of traditional zones of EMS care.”

Courtesy photo by J. Finnerin. Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Battalion Chief Michael Marino, wearing a vest with “medic” written across his back, participates in a training evolution simulating an approach of an apartment complex for a high-risk search warrant.

Courtesy photo by J. Finnerin. Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department Battalion Chief Michael Marino, wearing a vest with “medic” written across his back, participates in a training evolution simulating an approach of an apartment complex for a high-risk search warrant.

Marino, a 12-year veteran, has been active with the Emergency Services Team for the past two years.

The three-week training “is grueling and demands both mental and physical toughness,” Marino said. The Emergency Services Team School teaches basic SWAT operations and high-threat medical care to students from the Washington, D.C., area. Buffum graduated from Session 30 and was elected class leader by his fellow classmates.

“I am proud of Lt. Buffum’s personal accomplishment of completing the school, as well as the department’s continued commitment to the program,” Marino said.

High-threat medicine is a timely topic with incidents like the Boston Marathon bombings and numerous active shooter incidents during the past few years. Advances in casualty care, gleaned from military experience and aggressive pre-hospital trauma care, have increased survivability from injuries previously deemed fatal. All of this translates into the civilian environment through the implementation of tactical emergency casualty care, which guides the provision of high-threat medicine.

The placement of paramedics in the Tactical Medical Emergency Program is part of a personnel exchange program with Prince George’s County Police Department. For every paramedic assigned to the Emergency Services Team, a county police officer is assigned to the fire department. 

Currently, there are two full-time police officers assigned to the Office of the Fire Marshal. These officers perform a variety of law enforcement functions in support of fire investigators.

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