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Your QRU team at work;
all members EMT certified

All the Seeley Lake Quick Response members are certified Emergency Medical Technicians Basic or higher. The Seeley QRU currently has 13 members. Back row (left to right) John Anders, Joe Anders, Wade Herbert, Merrilee Fortune, Hank Sommerdyke, Kristie Roesner, Sandy Sommerdyke, Jennifer Sommerdyke, Debbie Ogden. Front row: Connie Clark, Bonnie Connell, Chris Anders and QRU Chief Cindy Lewis. P. Swan Smith Photo.

by Patricia Swan Smith
For the Pathfinder
August 20, 1998

The Seeley Lake Quick Response Unit had three calls in a period of five minutes on July 27th. "That was a first as far as I can remember," said QRU Chief Cindy Lewis. "That's scary, but we took care of everyone."

While only one of those calls could have been life-threatening, all calls are considered life-threatening until the situation has been assessed. Needless to say, the QRU and Fire Department members had their hands full until every call was answered.

Lewis said that while that was the highest number of calls at the same time, she recalls a 4th of July weekend when the QRU responded to 27 calls. During that weekend, the ambulance made 5 trips to Missoula in a 24-hour period.

"That was incredible," Lewis said. "Every time we turned around our beepers were going off. The crew deserves a lot of credit. They spend a lot of their personal time on these calls."

"We also appreciate all of the help we get from the Fire Department," she said. "They really help us out a lot."

Fire Department members respond to many of the QRU calls when they are needed to help with extrication, move patients, direct traffic, drive the ambulance or provide other aid.

The Seeley Lake QRU members are all volunteer. Besides being ready to respond 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, the volunteers have to put in many hours of training to qualify to respond on the ambulance.

At one time, the Seeley QRU had three or four Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and the rest of the members were First Responder "A"s. Now, all crew members are certified EMT Basics or higher. EMT Basic takes a minimum of 110 hours of training and passing the State written and practical exams.

Besides the initial training requirements, the members are required to attend monthly training as well.

According to QRU member Sandy Sommerdyke, some of their training and assistance comes from a program called "TENKIDS." With this grant-funded computer system, the QRU has access to electronic communication, patient care data, information about training throughout the state and training with CDs.

The crew can also use the computer to contact other medical professionals across the state to discuss any incident the crew may have faced and had questions or concerns after it was all over. This allows a collaborative effort to solve problems and plan preventative measures according to Sommerdyke.

Many of the members also help provide training for CPR for those who either want to take it or are required to take it by their employers. This year, QRU Training Officer Bonnie Connell has provided CPR training for Plum Creek and the Seeley Lake Preschool.

"The members donate a lot of time to the QRU," Lewis said. "We have a great crew."

She also said that a big thanks needs to go out to the members of the public who are usually the first ones on the scene. While there are a few cases when members of the public have further injured patients by moving them, most people are very helpful by either immobilizing patients or directing traffic until emergency personnel arrive.

"Because of the emergency situation, we are very seldom able to thank those who do stop and help for all they do. But we really do appreciate it."

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