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First Responders on the Fire Dept! NEED HELP ASAP

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  • First Responders on the Fire Dept! NEED HELP ASAP

    Hi everyone,

    Ok I have a problem and i need everyones opinion on this topic.
    In my city the EMS ans Fire are two Seperate entities. Today I found out that the Fire dept wants to start its own First responder program but none of them will go to school to become emts. None of them have any ems experiance and will not even train with the ems. I myself am both a ff/emt but the fire dept. in my city will not let me join because of my being an EMT so i am a firefighter in a different town. Anyways.........everyone involved here is A volunteer, and the EMS response time to ALL Calls is 5-10 minutes(on Scene, At Pt) My question for you all is.......should the Fire dept have a first response program started so they reaspond to ALL EMS CALLS whether needed or not?


  • #2
    We have such a system in my county, each fire department has its own first responders. You must at a minimum complete a 65 hour first responder course to run ems calls.

    It works well for us, it allows us as first respondesr to arrive on scene in some cases well before EMS, and we can update them on patient status, begin treatment within the scope of what the first responder protocol allows, and begin obtaining patient information and history. Once EMS arrives, we can conduct a hand off and have the first set of vitals, pertinat history, a list of medications, and whatever else is needed in that situation done or in progress, so EMS can load and go faster. We also assist EMS with loadng and in the ambulance on the ride to the hospital if need be. It really pays off in many cases, including getting an AED on scene faster. Even if they beat me there, they rarely turn down the help documenting the patient info,

    With a 5-10 minute response time, getting bodies on scene earlier with the proper traing and equipment will help.

    Currently we are dispatched to every call, no matter what it is, although there is some talk of changing the procedure to not distach to low priority calls unless requested by EMS. If EMS beats us there and doesn't need us they notify the EOC and we are cancelled.

    Will any type EMS traing be required? I have a hard time believing your medical director would allow untrained individuals to run calls. And whats the deal with not allowing you to join the FD because you are an EMT, that sounds just plain asanine. Trained help is always needed.
    Last edited by radioguy; 09-03-2003, 06:48 PM.


    • #3
      Let me get this straight. You are not allowed to volunteer with your local VFD because you are an EMT? That's insane. Do they also restrict police officers and public utilities employees from volunteering? What could possably be their reason for turning away volunteers that happen to have EMT training? There's got to be more to the story than that.
      As for starting a first responder program, I think it's a good idea. Every firefighter should have some basic medical training so that he can assist on the scene of an MCI or other disaster where your ALS service is overburdened. Let's face it, First Responder is as basic as it gets. If the VFD has no intention of transporting patients but just supplimenting the ALS service then First Responder is the place to start. I joined my local VFD after taking a First Responder class with them. A couple of years later I had gained some experiance and decided to upgrade to EMT-B. While my VFD only runs at a First Responder level the Chief encourages us to become EMTs if we want. Our VFD will even reemburse the cost of our tuition once you complete the class and get your National Registry.
      For years our First Responders were dispatched by 911 to EVERY medical call along with the private ALS service which covers our district. Since the private ALS ambulances often had a 20-30 minute response time we spent much of our time with patients who had nothing wrong except body aches, spiter bite got infected, roach in ear and other such minor calls. On August 1 of this year we started 'Selective Dispatching' which means the 911 dispatcher will only roll us out to 'life threating' emergencies. The private ambulance will handle everything else by itself. This is giving the 6 or 7 active First Responders a break from having to respond to so many calls and ensures that we are available for true emergencies.
      Work with the ALS service and you will see that you are able to provide a service to the community that will become appreciated by the public.


      • #4
        Our situation is a little different but I wanted to throw this out as well...

        Our fire district is served by a separate all-volunteer rescue squad which is located right next door to our location. Our closest ALS unit comes from 20 minutes away. Our fire department does not have a first responder program because almost 50% of our members, are members of the squad. The squad members have to respond with an ambulance, otherwise its a 20+ minute wait on EMS. The only time we roll FD with Rescue Squad is MVA's. Thats when the non-squad members have to take over FD responsibilities and the Rescue members go with the Rescue Squad. It works out pretty well and both organizations work really well together.

        If for some reason the Rescue Squad ceases to exist, we would start up a first responder program.


        • #5
          Hi everyone. Ok the story behind the fire dept not wanting someone with emt training is because they are still "the good old boys club".

          My story is that my mother is the ems director and i have been wanting to become an emt/ff forever. The summer that i turned 18 i took the emt basic course and took ff1 after being sponsered by a surounding communitie fire dept. Also another emt who has been ff1 and 2 cert. has not been called by the fire dept either for an interview. Now in light of recent events.......(a ff whos kid commited suicide and i was one of the emts on this call) have i been called in for an interview.

          so needless to say there is alot of bs going on.


          • #6
            Sounds like you have two volunteer organizations that are somewhat hostile towards each other, if not openly than low key. I have seen it before time and time again, one feels its toes are being stepped on and then the other gets ****ed and so forth and so on.......

            In your first post you called this a "problem", why? You are getting extra help, and I don't know how that can be a problem unless you are more worried about egos, control, and who gets to do what than you are about what really matters, service to the patients. Please explain to me how extra help is a "problem". I am certain your medical director, if he values his ability to practice medicine, will set a minimum standard of training for those running first responder calls.

            I think the FD starting a FR program will actually help the situation, if you guys with EMS can quit worrying about your toes being stepped on or territory invaded. Once you start seeing more of each other on calls and working together maybe that hostility can be replaced by a better working relationship.

            The bottom line is service to the public, and anything that can enhance it is a good thing in my book. Its not about us and how we want things, it's about what is best for those we serve.


            • #7
              Without reading too far into the local politics with neighboring departments, I have to say my initial thought is to promote first response by any agency willing to accept the challenge. Certainly as my colleagues have said above, getting people & equipment there to begin treatment, analyze the immediate threats and get the show started ASAP is all a great idea. You can't force people to go beyond the minimum guidelines for training, but you can certainly work to smooth relations there, and that's when you start to see people encouraged to train more. I don't envy you with the uphill battle of territory wars, but it's not an impossible ordeal. Good luck, and let us know how things turn out!
              Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
              Dennis Miller


              • #8
                Well Put, Kevin...........

                I think Kevin put things in good perspective with his post. I am thankful that I don't have to deal with some of these things, Good or Bad. Here, we do it all from the local Fire stations, ALS Transport, BLS Transport, BLS First Responders on Heavy Rescues, Engines, Ladders, and even Brush Rigs. Everyone MUST become a Maryland Certified EMT-B within 2 years of joining a VFD. Having everything in one place has it's advantages, such as fewer buildings to worry about, lower operating costs and others. Stay Safe....
                Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                In memory of
                Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                IACOJ Budget Analyst

                I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.



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