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Southlake Style

Meet EMS Lt Ryan Arthur

Jan 12, 2012 09:43AM ● By Mike

Emergency Medical Services Lieutenant with the City of Southlake’s Department of Public Safety and we got together with Lt. Arthur to get to know him. We learned he is an avid runner and enjoys life with his beautiful wife and one year old son, and he has a deep commitment to his community. You should get to know him too.

Southlake Style: We understand your uncle is one of the people who inspired you to follow this career path. In what way?

Lieutenant Ryan Arthur: My uncle was a Fire Lieutenant in New Haven, Connecticut, where I was born. Hearing all his stories really instilled a desire to pursue a career as a firefighter. Seeing and reading about his actions on a call in the local newspaper made the decision even easier for me. At the ripe old age of eighteen, I attended the basic fire academy and received my firefighter/EMT certificate. I was hired by the City of Allen a short time after graduation.

SS: In the press release a story was revealed about a little girl you saved from drowning in a pool when you had just recently graduated from training. Can you tell me a little about that day?

RA: Before being hired in Allen, I worked part-time for the City of Wylie. There is one call I will never forget about because it seemed as though I was just in the right place at the right time. A call came in while I was on the brush truck doing some fire hydrant flow tests. The call was a three year old that had possibly drowned in a pool and the location just so happened to be right around the corner from where I was checking a hydrant. I arrived on scene within about 30 seconds all by myself. Keep in mind that I had just graduated the academy and this was probably my second or third call as a firefighter. As I exited the brush truck, the grandfather of the child came running outside towards me carrying the child, asking me for help. I immediately began basic life support and started CPR. I performed CPR for about 1 minute when I stopped to check a pulse. Immediately after I stopped CPR, she took a long deep breath and her skin color began to come back. The engine crew arrived on scene within 5-10 seconds of her taking the breath. We ended up having to fly her via Care Flight to Children's Medical Center where she recovered and went home a week later. I will never forget that call as long as I live.

SS: You’ve worked as a police officer, paramedic, and firefighter in the span of your career. How did each position differ? It’s obvious helping people is very important to you. Is that what it’s all about?

RA: I came to Southlake mainly because of their Public Safety Officer program. This gave me a chance to serve the community both as a Firefighter/Paramedic and Police Officer. This allowed me to assist our citizens in all aspects of "public safety." From answering alarm calls to helping the fire department with a critical patient, this gives me great satisfaction at the end of the day. I have a great deal of experience when it comes to the fire service and working as a paramedic. I truly enjoy being able to help someone in his or her darkest hour.

SS: Tell us about the training required to be an EMT as well as hazardous materials training.

RA: There are four levels of certification that are regulated by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Emergency Care Attendant (ECA), Emergency Medical Technician-Basic (EMT-B), Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate (EMT-I) and Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic (EMT-P, LP). Most of our personnel are EMT-P or LP. Paramedic training now is an extensive process that requires years of education to complete including classroom lectures, hands-on training and clinical rotations. After completing the training each individual must take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians test to become certified or licensed. To become a Hazardous Materials Technician you must complete an 80-hour course, which teaches the basic and advanced skills needed to control a HAZMAT spill and/or event. In addition to the 20 hours a year needed to recertify as a firefighter, an additional 10 hours is needed for HAZMAT.

SS: Can you explain the “Hazmat” part of your responsibilities?

RA: “Hazmat” stands for Hazardous Materials. Our department is part of a unified group that incorporates multiple surrounding cities (NEFDA). Being a part of this group allows our department a chance to train with multiple agencies on specialized services (i.e. HAZMAT, Technical Rescue, Bomb Team, etc.). The “HAZMAT” portion of my job gives me the opportunity to provide the best HAZMAT training to our personnel. As the new EMS/Hazmat Lieutenant for Southlake I will coordinate all training when it comes to Hazardous Materials and ensure our personnel has the appropriate equipment and supplies.

SS: What challenges do you look forward to with your new role?

RA: One challenge will be earning the respect and trust from our personnel, but I’m confident our people will find that I go above and beyond to assist anyone and everyone in the department who needs it. I am here to help build our organization and make it the best it can be.

SS: What goals have you set for yourself to achieve in your new role?

RA: A major goal of mine is to take the EMS portion of our department to the next level. We already provide the best care possible to our citizens and visitors. When I say “next level” I mean training for our personnel and providing the best equipment possible.

SS: We’ve all seen TV shows about paramedics and firefighters. Are the programs realistic to a degree?

RA: They are somewhat realistic. In most programs there is one major flaw; no one dies. That’s unrealistic when it comes to being a firefighter/paramedic. Sometimes it does not matter what you do or how hard you try to save someone’s life, the outcome is inevitable. All of us train for the worst-case scenario but sometimes that just isn’t enough.

Somehow, Southlake feels a little safer after getting to know EMS Lieutenant Arthur. We feel fortunate to have the dedicated personnel of of our entire Department of Public Safety working to keep us protected.