In the late 1990's, I was a wildland firefighter and new EMT. On my first day ever during a fire in Colorado, my crew and I took shelter in a house while it was burned over. Several of my fellow firefighters were injured, and we attended to them while securing the fireline. Fortunately, because of the teams' training and resources, our fellow firefighters received immediate care on the line and eventually made a full recovery.
I continued to work in wildland fire as both a firefighter and line EMT for several years. During this time , it became apparent that EMS providers in non traditional environments face unique challenges and require modifications to standard training and skill sets. I eventually went on to medical school and residency training in Emergency Medicine - but as we all know, once firefighting gets in your blood it never really leaves...
Fast forward to 2015: I started the company that would become FirelineMD to provide medical direction to wildland firefighters on the Boise, Sawtooth and Salmon-Challis National Forests. Since then, we have grown and now provide medical direction and training to several hundred EMS professionals, wildland firefighters, law enforcement officers and private industry providers across six states.
We understand that traditional EMS training has focused on the urban environment with ambulances and hospitals readily available. Unfortunately, many of our partners' needs will not be met with this approach. Instead, we analyze the unique environment our providers will be called to act in and plan accordingly. This means focusing on skills, techniques and equipment that has the highest likelihood to save lives in their environment.
So, what makes us different? We've been there, and we're still here.