PHCC students help keep Martinsville firefighters safe during back-to-back fires

Paramedic students rehabbed firefighters

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Flames shooting out of a home: a picture from the Martinsville Fire Department shows that’s what firefighters saw when they arrived at the house on Askin Street on Sunday afternoon.

“That was our second fire back to back on that day,” Martinsville Fire Chief Ted Anderson said.

Luckily, three Patrick Henry Community College paramedic students were working with the fire department to get clinical hours for their degrees.

Anderson said the students provided critical care to the firefighters.

Without them, the department would have had to rely on mutual aid from departments in Henry County.

“We were able to involve rehab, and that rehab is critical,” Anderson said.

Without rehab, the firefighters’ vitals, particularly their blood pressure, may have unknowingly been at unsafe levels.

“Sometimes they push themselves beyond their bodies' limits. I’ve been on fire scenes where we’ve seen firefighters collapse," Anderson said.

Second-year student Kayla Saxe was one of the three students who helped the firefighters.

The other two students were unavailable for an interview Wednesday.

“I love working with the firefighters," Saxe said. "That’s one good thing about our job: We work so hand in hand with them. We’ve got to make sure everybody’s safe. If not, we can’t all do our jobs.”

She said her classes at the community college helped prepare her for this real-life event. 

“We’re taught extensively on so many things that at this point it’s just instinct,” Saxe said.

A payoff that potentially had lifesaving results.

About the Author: