Michael Kremkau

Over the last 14 years I have had the pleasure of being the medical director for Missoula Fire Department. During that time, we have seen tremendous changes in our system. We have had a 17% increase in our population and calls for service have almost doubled in this period.

Missoula Fire responded to almost 12,000 calls for service last year. Missoula’s city limits have also expanded without commensurate increase in fire department staffing. This increase in call volume and service area has resulted in response times that are 2 minutes higher than national standards. Supporting the mil levy will help to add an additional fire station and engine company.

We have been fortunate to have a dedicated group of professionals who are constantly striving to improve emergency first response in the city. Missoula Fire Department not only responds to house and automotive fires; it is also responsible for wildland fire protection, technical rescue, hazmat response, education in addition to advanced life support first response to all medical calls in the city.

The fire department has been instrumental in advancing prehospital emergency medical care. Initiatives such as our high-performance CPR program, undertaken with our local partners, have had a tremendous impact on cardiac arrest survival. This requires dedicated interagency training time and a robust response. We are currently one of the highest performing systems in the state.  Response times are critical in cardiac arrest where survival may decrease 7-10% per minute.

Missoula Fire Department has been a leading agency in responding to our mental health crisis. The mobile support team, which is run by the fire department, responds to a wide array of mental health disorders not requiring traditional EMS or law enforcement response. The program has been successful in connecting patients with resources in our community.

This helps decrease unnecessary ambulance transport and emergency room visits; directly translating to better patient outcomes and decreasing costs to taxpayers. The grant funding for this program is set to expire and success of the mil levy would help to continue to provide this essential service to our community.

Michael A. Kremkau, MD, FACEP; St Patrick Hospital-Dept of Emergency Medicine-Chair; Missoula County 911/Sheriff SRT/SAR-Reserve Deputy/Medical Director; Missoula City Fire Department-Medical Director; Missoula Emergency Services Inc-Medical Director; Missoula College Paramedic Program-Medical Director; Montana State Emergency Medical Services Advisory Council-Chair