ES fire chief reports smooth ride during Enduro race

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The new downhill mountain bike trails at Lake Leatherwood City Park have brought more thrill seekers to the region, and local EMS responders are always ready to help injured cyclists.

Fortunately, Eureka Springs fire chief Nick Samac said at the Western Carroll County Ambulance District’s regular meeting Aug. 21, everything has gone pretty well so far. Samac said first responders didn’t receive any calls during the Arkansas Enduro Series race Aug. 18-19, which utilized three downhill trails at Lake Leatherwood and an in-town route.

“From what I understand, they hired some off-duty Bentonville paramedics to staff it, three per trail,” Samac said.

Samac said the Eureka Springs Fire Department is happy to work with rural departments when it comes to treating injured cyclists. That’s more important now than ever, he said.

“We’ve done some joint trainings, and we’ve gone out and hiked those trails to make sure we have our plans in place,” Samac said.

Samac presented the fire department’s report for June and July, saying there were 146 incidents including rural Eureka Springs, Grassy Knob, Holiday Island and Inspiration Point. One call in rural Eureka Springs went over the 18-minute response time, Samac said, because it took responders more time to get to a home on Country Road 155.

“It’s just a ways out there … and it’s a rough road,” Samac said. “It’s not the nicest road. It’s a ways down there.”

Samac said Holiday Island received 80 calls, with rural Eureka Springs receiving 26 calls and Grassy Knob and Inspiration Point receiving 15 calls each.

“Holiday Island received a significant amount of calls over the two-month period,” Samac said. “They were all pretty much to the same residence.”

Holiday Island fire chief Bob Clave said a resident made frequent non-emergency calls in June and July, but that shouldn’t be a problem anymore.

“That gentleman is not at home anymore,” Clave said.

Michael Fitzpatrick, who works with rural Eureka Springs responders, said some calls take place close enough to city limits that it’s quicker for Eureka Springs Fire and EMS to respond.

“We butt right against the city, so there’s some rural calls where the squad can get there in three minutes, and a rural responder will take 20 minutes to get there,” Fitzpatrick said.

In June and July, Fitzpatrick said, rural Eureka Springs received two calls where a subject was dead on arrival.

“One was a medical end-of-life, which was sad,” Fitzpatrick said. “Another was an unpleasant gunshot suicide.”

There was an upbeat call, Fitzpatrick said, where a child was saved by adults after nearly drowning in a hotel pool.

“By the time we got there, the child was awake and breathing,” Fitzpatrick said. “There’s good news and bad news, always, with the EMS business.”

During his report, Clave recalled attending a training session in Hot Springs. He’s attended this training for many years, Clave said, but it changed a little this year.

“They had more classes on active shooters and mass casualty incidents than I’ve ever seen before,” Clave said. “It was a lot of good information. There was a stop-the-bleed class going on for two days.”

WCCAD’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16.

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