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West Fargo Fire Corner: Welcome to Fall

Dell Sprecher gives updates on the West Fargo Fire Department's safety and building

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West Fargo Fire Marshal Dell Specher instructs sophomore Chase Hapka in using a fire extinguisher March 11 at West Fargo Sheyenne High School. David Samson / The Forum
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Welcome to the beginning of fall.

Hard to imagine, but we will be raking leaves before you know it.

Please, as with any day of the year, be careful with fire pits. Remember, they are not to be used for the burning of grass/leaves or garbage. Recreational fires are for small branches, firewood, and you they must be attended while in use. With all the media, Facebook, Twitter, and webpage, I hope that I am not repeating many areas already covered.

Next, some updates; the new fire station headquarters building is well under way. Footings have been poured, as we wait for pre-cast walls and steel to arrive. As of this date, we still are on schedule for moving in June of 2023. Fire crews are busy keeping up with training and the increasing number of fire runs. It is becoming commonplace for crews to run multiple calls on top of each other. We introduced Narcan for public use as of last month. Crews will carry it on trucks and provide it to whomever would benefit. Also, fire stations will have this on hand if anyone would like directions on how to administer.

From the safety side of the fire department, we are excited to introduce a new program for our Risk Reduction Team. The name of the program is West Fargo Fire Department Community Health Alliance. This project is in the early stages and is developing every week into a wonderful service.

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The Community Health Alliance bridges the gap in critical healthcare services and communication that often occurs between a 911 call and a patient returning home.

Many Fire Departments are focused on community risk reduction, and communities, especially those that tend to be under-served or disadvantaged- are at a greater risk where there is a gap between the hospital/nursing home/transitional care unit and home. This Care Coordination Model will follow the patient during the entire process, ensuring a smooth transition and a more successful recovery.

When the Fire Department is on the scene, needs are identified or communicated by the patient and or family/caregiver. After understanding what is needed or requested, a referral is made to the Care Coordinator in the form of a referral. Responding afterwards, care teams are connected, and a Safe Home Visit is scheduled. This process ensures patients get the right resource at the right time.

The Community Health Team will eventually include the Fire Department, a medical director, a program director, care coordinators, community paramedics, EMTs, community healthcare workers, and partnerships with community resources. This care coordination model is designed to overcome barriers to continuity of care. When a person receives 911 assistance it requires more care coordination to access their healthcare, receiving fragmented care in emergency departments, and using urgent cares and minute clinics to fill the gaps. Our team will be the first to connect the patient back to their primary care teams with timely community resource connections and follow-up care. This program originated in Minnesota, and they have agreed to take West Fargo Fire on as a pilot program, so we are off and running as we speak.

So, with a little patience and due diligence the Community Health Alliance will become a reality within our department very soon. Stay tuned, as they say, as the project grows.

Enjoy you last days of summer and have a fire safe September.

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