JONESBORO (KAIT) Jonesboro fire fighters are going the extra mile these days.
In addition to battling blazes--they're also making medical runs.
So far this year the fire department has responded to over 3 thousand calls and a thousand of those are for medical assist.
It's a new plan that appears to be a win win situation for every one involved.
JFD Assistant Chief Kevin Miller, "We've been responding to vehicle accidents for as long as I have been here, for the last 20 years. That's not anything new. The only new phase that we've added into it is responding to medical emergencies basically at peoples homes, offices and business."
Since August 15th fire fighters have assisted ambulance teams on 911 medical calls.
Because of their locations they can some times arrive on the scene before an ambulance.
Toby Emerson, Emerson Ambulance Company, "They do some basic assessment of the patient their airway, breathing circulation and at that point they are really waiting for us to get there."
For people that work on the ambulance the firefighters can serve not only as the initiator of emergency medical care and a backup in case they need help.
Emerson, "More hands help us a great deal."
All Jonesboro firefighters are trained as first responders.
Each unit is equipped with a medical kit that includes an A-E-D, an automated external defibrillator. A device that saves live when seconds count.
Miller, "Get everything set up, hook them up to the AED's and we have people that are alive and breathing today alive today because of those few extra minutes that we were able to get there first."
So far the program is working well and keeping the department busy, 10 medical assistance calls Wednesday.
At least 6 on Thursday.
And even though the plan is to assist the ambulance crews.
Emerson, "I've talked to all of my crews and all of them seem to appreciate it very much."
The ultimate goal for both teams is to save lives.