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Fire Company vs. EMS Company

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  • Fire Company vs. EMS Company

    Which do u think should have control on an auto accident here in VA the law states that the FIRE CHIEF or his designee will control the scene untill all people are transported and all hazards are removed and it is handed over to law enforcement.

    Some EMS companies around here feel that this is wrong and they should control the call. these companies cause problems by not following instructions and continuing a rescue squad and to the scene on auto accidents after being placed in service after the engine arrives and finds no entrapment or patients. this causes many problems on calls. If anyone has any good ideas or thoughts please help.

  • #2
    I work and volunteer with an EMS company that handles EMS and vehicle rescue within our primary coverage area. On the scene of MVAs, the fire chief is considered the incident commander and our supervisor is the EMS command. Works well more often than not. Fire chief basically is responsible for traffic and hazard control, pulling a line if we are going to cut, and clean-up afterwards. Since we run the rescue truck, we are the ones that handle the extrication and patient care. We also have volunteers that run with both us and the FD, so that helps with the cooperation, too.

    Outside our primary coverage area, we run ALS-assists and also don't usually have problems on scene (or not that I have encountered or have heard of). Again, the fire dept. usually takes charge of the overall scene, and in these areas the extrication, too. They do rely heavily on our input, though, so we maintain an indirect/unofficial control of the rescue.

    * Just my $.02!
    1. When in doubt, CYA!!
    2. These opinions are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of any agency with which I am affiliated.


    • #3
      Sounds like you guys need to work out the EMS - Fire wars going on there. The Law doesn't really matter, it's words on paper until everyone decides to get along and come to an agreement... Good luck!!

      And I'm glad I don't live there.....


      • #4
        In California, the authority with the invesigative duty has ultimate control of the scene. That means the CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL has the authority on highway accidents and the local POLICE AUTHORITY has it every where else. Tough luck fire crews, tough luck EMS crews- what they say goes. But luckily they are relaively flexible and generally don't get in the way too much.

        An EMS crew's responsibility is patient care. The fire Crew handles extrication if necessary, saftey measures, hazards, etc. Technically, the paramedic/ems crew should work within the control of the fire offical because he has a greater scope of command.

        If you use the Incident Command System at any scene- last time I checked the incident commander was above medical group supervisor/treatment/triage etc...

        EMS crews, take you lumps- yer not in charge of the scene and the incident commander can tell you what to do about everything but the treatment.


        • #5
          I realise the laws vary from state to state for those that have them. Law Enforcement basically has two tasks investigate the scene and get the traffic moving again. The rest of us have to deal with the overall scene including hazards, triage, entrapments, resources, medical treatment and just about anything else that occurrs. EMS care usually involves secondary triage and actual treatment which may be done by one or multiple agencies. The fire departments typically remain at the scene even after the victims have been taken away so overall repsonsibility is with them.


          • #6

            You know how I feel... You are right about state law and regardless...in your case...the fire officer should maintain control until the situation is mitigated. You will neer fix the problem in your area due to tremendous egos and turf wars. On the other end of the spectrum consider this, how often has then engine continued in after the Rescue unit said, minor accident, no injury and no leaks? Ask yourself, "Why did they do that?"...Answer....Engine officer said..."No damn ambulance putting me in service!"

            I am as guilty as any...but we need to pull up our pants and get on with it and get along. As long as the headstrong immature attitudes exist...it will not change.

            Having been in your department, I do understand where you are coming from and how you feel. After all....what good does that brand new heavy squad do if it shows with 1 or 2 people on it????

            Go get em!
            09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
            IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
            "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
            BMI Investigator
            The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


            • #7
              I think it all comes down to professionalism amongst the ranks, amongst we in the streets. This is fostered over time and maintained through regular reinforcement. Work WITH your fellow public safety agencies, not against in competative nature. There's no room for that crap.

              Are you "impressed" by the cop and feel the need to flex some on-scene muscle? You think he is "impressed" by you, etc? C'mon.

              If you've developed a good working relationship between PD, EMS and FD - then it's a moot point. You arrive at scene and they talk to you, you talk to them and you do what needs to be done.

              PRAY FOR OUR FALLEN
              09-11-01:Never Forget


              • #8
                Think of a target and the pt's in bullseye, the vehicles involved and immediate fire/ems crew safety in the next circle, and the vehicle/pedestrian traffic in the most outside circle on the target. This is an easy way to break down the responsibilities of each group. The most logical person to be overall scene commander is the fire officer. The officer should remain hands free and concentrate on the big picture. All others involved (medics,ff,pd) should be tunelled in on task needed/performed. Whoever is in charge, by law, policy, or default, should consider that one can't be in command if e performing a task. That is why in my professional judgement, the medics (pt care) and police shouldn't(traffic control/accident investigations) should never have overall command, they are simply too task oriented. The fire officer has the flexibility to get the proper resources to the scene, delegete task, and sit back and watch the big picture, which is truely being in overall command.


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