UTTR firefighters provide aid in I-80 baby delivery

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah — Utah Test and Training Range firefighters are becoming well practiced at a real-world skill appreciated by moms: child delivery.

Assistant Chief Kevin Caudill, Paramedic Micheal Bruce, Capt. Benjamin Kuethe and Lt. Ben Roundtree responded March 16 to assist in a baby delivery occurring in a vehicle on Interstate 80, approximately 16 miles south of their UTTR location in Utah’s western desert. When they arrived, the baby boy had already been born but the firefighters were crucial in helping with the rest of the delivery process.

While the baby was evaluated and prepared for transport, his mother continued receiving treatment. Caudill determined that her medical difficulties required advanced care and she and her new baby were taken to Tooele, Utah, approximately 45 miles east of the delivery location; both are doing fine.

“This one was a little bit different,” said Capt. Ronald D’Andrea, who took the call from Tooele County dispatch. “Normally on a medical (response) we’d send the ambulance and an incident commander but we sent an extra EMT because when a baby is born we actually have two patients, not one.”

The firefighters were prepared due to the recurring EMT training they receive in labor and delivery.

“Being so far from another department or another base, we’ve pretty much built our own little cell that responds out,” said UTTR Fire and Emergency Services Chief David Kallman. “Our training is not just the training we do here. We go out and train amongst the population and with other departments.”

This is not the first time UTTR firefighters have responded to assist in delivering a baby. About a year ago an infant arrived just one mile away from last week’s response location on Interstate 80.

“People don’t even know we’re here,” said Kallman. “We keep a very low profile but the county knows where we are and they know they can call us and we’re on our way within minutes.”

UTTR firefighters work closely with Tooele County emergency responders via mutual aid agreements; they are called numerous times each year for assistance in baby deliveries and other emergency situations.

“We help local responders with vehicle accidents, wildland fires and we’ve been out on Amber Alerts, too.” said Caudill. “Anything needing emergency response on a highway, we’ve been called out for.”

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