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Episode 238 | Ken Prillaman Interview


This episode is a flashback episode where Fire Chief Ken Prillaman shared his near-miss story where complacency at an EMS call almost resulted in a catastrophe.

Length: 45 minutes


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On Saturday, September 13, 2014, the Brooklyn Park Fire Department was dispatched to a medical call that had the potential to be catastrophic for the members of their department, their EMS transport provider and their police department.

The call was for a person having a stroke. As the crew arrived and made entry through the front door of the house there was a man on the floor having a seizure. The two police officers on the scene were attending to the individual.

One of the firefighters on the scene, Jeff St. Martin, noticed a mess of exhaust and heard what sounded like a motor running. His quick actions prevented a catastrophic outcome. The levels of carbon monoxide measured in the home exceeded the capacity of the department’s carbon monoxide meter (in excess of 600 ppm).

Some takeaways from the interview include:

  • How complacency can creep into our mindset that we are responding to “just another medical call.”
  • How strong situational awareness can alert us when the pieces of the puzzle don’t fit… and things don’t make sense.
  • How intuition, when followed, can compel action that that can be lifesaving, even when you may not know why you are taking the action at the moment.
  • How a CO monitor carried by first-arriving medical personnel (and perhaps police officers) can alert responders to the potential of highly lethal CO levels.


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Intro music

Safety Dance (1982)
Men Without Hats
GMC – Virgin Records
Licensed by BMI Music

Firefighter Near Miss Reporting System


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