JASPER COUNTY, Iowa — A new program in Jasper County is expanding the skills and services of deputies to help improve the quality of life for residents in that area.
The Jasper County Sheriff's Office started a program called Advanced Life Support (ALS) in March.
It was started with CARES Act funds and allowed the agency to have deputies train to get certifications to assist as paramedics and purchase a health monitor along with a LUCAS device, which helps administer chest compressions.
Right now ALS has two part-time employees, Steve Ashing and Jacob Halferty. Both have the title of reserve deputy and paramedic.
"The primary role is law enforcement but if there's a need in the county for paramedic, EMS, we can respond as a paramedic to that service," Ashing said.
Ashing said the 18-month trial program was started to help Jasper County residents who call for help receive it in a timely manner. The fire department and EMS in the county that respond to those calls run on volunteers and are low right now.
That means it could take those volunteer workers 20 minutes to get to the scene.
So when deputies get there before the fire department or EMS does, which Ashing says would happen often, this new program allows them to intervene and help those in need.
"We [can] help start an IV, do a breathing treatment those types of things and take some of the pressure off," Ashing said.
Since starting this program, there have been 42 calls for service. ALS has responded to 32 of them and was either the primary paramedic or assisted in helping.
"Whether it's a serious trauma accident or a serious medical incident, you kind of have like that golden hour to get certain treatments done," Halferty added. "In rural Iowa we push that a lot … can't always get them to the facility quicker but we can make it a lot easier on them and give them a better chance of survival."
After the 18-month trial is over, the Jasper County Sheriff's Office will review the program and see if it is worth keeping and moving forward with it.