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Deputy, firefighter deliver baby at rural county home

May 16, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

The duties of law enforcement officers and firefighters are not always about making arrests and putting out fires, as proved Wednesday morning when dispatch received a call concerning a woman on the brink of delivering her baby.

At 3:40 a.m. on May 16, deputy sheriff Kevin Rieman responded to a residence in the Lost Wells Butte area in Riverton for a 25-year-old woman who was 36 weeks pregnant with her fourth child and in need of medical assistance.

According to the sheriff's dispatch log, the reporting party said the woman was having contractions and could feel the head of her baby.

Sheriff's Capt. Ryan Lee said David Knoepke, a Midvale fireman/first responder, also responded to the call, and a dispatcher assisted the two men on the telephone.

"Our communications officer who was on duty at the time, Jennifer Keel, assisted the two over the telephone with instructions" on how to deliver the baby, Lee said.

Keel, who has been a dispatcher for three years, remained on the telephone with Rieman and Knoepke throughout the duration of the delivery, which she estimated to be about 45 minutes. Lee said the time of birth was 4:20 a.m.

"Everything went perfectly given the circumstances," Keel said, adding this was the first time she ever assisted with a call like this.

Aside from having two young children of her own, Keel said she drew from knowledge she gained during recent trainings.

Keel said dispatchers completed a certification course a few months ago concerning emergency medical dispatch that covered what to do in the event of any medical situation.

"There are cards that we use to go through and assist with any medical call," she said. "Childbirth is one of them."

Lee said deputies receive basic first aid training and CPR certification and are required to keep up on their skills.

"They go through training for child-delivery emergencies, major medication situations and traumatic injuries," he said.

Lee said to his knowledge the mother and her newborn were transported to Riverton Memorial Hospital.

This is the second call in two months that involved law enforcement assisting with delivering a baby in Fremont County.

On March 18, Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers helped a Dubois couple deliver their daughter on U.S. Highway 26 while they were en route to the hospital in Riverton.

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