For Arlington Fire Officials, It Was A Classic Show ‘N Tell
By Office of Communication
Posted on June 27, 2012, June 27, 2012

Arlington Fire Officials

Just as Arlington Fire officials gathered Monday at the Southeast Branch Library to share with residents how a lion's share of what the department does is emergency medical service (EMS) work rather than fighting fires, who knew they'd be asked to do more showing than telling.

Shortly before the town hall meeting, a 55-year old library patron collapsed in cardiac arrest. Help wasn't far away - Fire Captain Steve Hendrix was in the foyer, having setup life saving equipment in the community room.

"By the time he woke up he was already in the ambulance headed for the hospital," said Capt. Hendrix, who performed CPR.

Fire Chief Don Crowson was beaming a half hour later when addressing residents in the community room.

"This is what we're all about - saving lives," he said.

Interesting enough, the District 3 Town Hall Meeting hosted by City Council members Robert Rivera and Michael Glaspie had the objective of showcasing what the fire department does and how efficiently they do it.

Residents heard Crowson and other fire officials explain how the city is separated into 17 departmentalized districts and how fire stations handled nearly 50,000 unit responses in 2011 alone. In District 3, there were 6,300 calls for service.

Supported by a power point presentation, they spoke of firefighting units we don't hear much about - hazardous material response team, technical rescue team, swift water/dive rescue team, the canine unit and the special events unit, which was formed just two years ago to handle major events like Super Bowls and All-Star Games at venues like Cowboys Stadium.

They happily explained that the reason fighting actual fires has taken a back seat to medical emergencies is due to fire prevention.

"We love that statistic," Crowson said.

After the meeting, residents stepped outside to meet firefighting dogs, see fire trucks and get a glimpse of the sort of equipment fire fighters use to help save people - and keep themselves safe.

"This is the uniform we wear outside the one I'm wearing now," said Firefighter Jose Moreno, showing the pants, coat, helmet, boots and oxygen tanks that collectively weigh 70 pounds.

Resident Trevor Cain was impressed. "What they do and how they do it, it's just amazing to me," he said.

So was Council member Rivera.

"I appreciate all of what they do," Riviera said. "I see it everyday. As a council member who has been on a ride along with stations spend time there, you kind of forget all the wonderful things they do."

As for saving that life earlier, Crowson was philosophical.

"I'm a big believer in all things happening for a reason," he said. "None of what would have happened without this town hall meeting being on this day and at this time. We're fast when getting to emergencies, but in this instant, perhaps we needed to be faster. We were (faster) because we were already here."

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