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  • Should All FF's be EMT's or above

    What do you think? I think yes. Our job is changing and i think we need to keep up with the times. Thats just me though. Discuss.

  • #2
    My personal opinion is that all FF's should be at least First Responder trained. Basic life support skills. My Department policy is that FF's are CPR trained, not everyone needs to be First Responder or EMT.
    Jason Knecht
    Firefighter/EMT
    Township Fire Dept., Inc.
    Eau Claire, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
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    • #3
      Originally posted by swfire42 View Post
      What do you think? I think yes. Our job is changing and i think we need to keep up with the times. Thats just me though. Discuss.
      "Discuss", he says.

      I tend to agree that some EMS training is prudent, how much is a matter of debate. Without any truly new insight, however, I fear that simply instructing us to "discuss" this sometimes sensitive topic will result in.....
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      • #4
        Personally, I think its a good idea, however as Dickey said, at least qualifying the to BLS/First Responder level should be a minimum for all FF. In particular, the rural area FD's are the places where (at least in the part of Canada I stared with this business) is often first on the scene of any event, from the "Oww, I stubbed my toe" to "Dude you are really messed up" calls.
        If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

        "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

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        Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

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        • #5
          No. CPR yes, licensed or certified EMT's-not if you job doesn't require it. The upkeep of skills and continueing education is just more time away from something else fire related. We are fast becoming Jack's of All trades, Master's of None. With all the talk of Back to Basics it should be obvious that we do not need any more mandates for things we are not doing! How about mandatory certification in ventilation, search, reading smoke and hoseline advances?

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          • #6
            I think every firefighter should be EMT basic for the simple reason of the occasional MCI. Requiring every single person on the dept to be paramedic is overkill though. First off even the most horrendous trauma call requires very little ALS intervention (the stay and play things beyond airway control) and would have better chances of survival if transported to the nearest appropriate facility quickly for surgery as soon as possible.

            The medical CPRs require at most 3 Paramedics: One on airway, one on meds, and one on the monitor. The basics can take care of all other things such as charting and getting history or more equipment. The medical calls that do require stay and play ALS support such as asthma attacks only require O2, IV, EKG and the Albuterol or Atrovent....2 paramedics can take care of that easily in less than 10 minutes....the other 3 guys from the engine just end up standing around with their thumbs up their butts waiting to be told they can go back to quarters.

            But as it stands now in this area, most departments want paramedic only. Staffing is 3 guys on the engine, 2 on the MICU so 5 of the highest trained medical professionals short of PA are sent to every single broken toe and "I've been coughing for the past 30 years and just now decided to tell someone at 3 AM" calls that come in.

            On the MCI you're only doing basic interventions on scene anyway. Even once you get enroute you'll probably still do basic interventions only because an ambulance can carry 5 patients at an MCI and that's too many to keep track of with advanced interventions. And you'll probably have more than one patient on board due to lack of ambulances.

            So yeah, everyone as EMT-B is good. I would say ECA, but an ECA cannot be used to staff an ambulance so once transport is initiated the ECA is practically useless.

            I am eager to see though if soemone will post any incidents involving a single patient where 5 or more paramedics were required and that a 3 medic 2 basic combo would not have been possible at all.

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            • #7
              I know here about 99% of FF's are EMT-B's. I personally think that EVERYONE should have at least EMT-B. Yeah you have to waste some time with the refreshre courses, but let say you get a call for an MCI. If none of the FF's are EMT the county would have to waste its resources pulling more EMT's. Having FF's that are EMT's would prevent that.

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              • #8
                It depends on which direction the department that you are involved in is going. If you are volunteer, I would say No to EMT. Hold on, I'm not stiring-up the paid vs.vollie crap..just listen. You should not have to mandate that someone who is giving up their own time to keep up the EMT cert. Plus, a department that provides EMS first-responder and/or transport could justify going with full-time personel if they want "to do it right."
                Now to the full-time FD's......the answer is Yes. If you are a career firefighter and you are not at least a basic, that FD's administration should all have their heads examined and/or fired. I know the FD that I work for would not have half the personnel or equipment if we did not provide EMS first responder and transport. You always have to question the messenger on this one. If you show me a firefighter that does not want to provide EMS in some form or fashion, I'll show you a person you will find in front of the TV or in bed sleeping at the earliest possible moment.
                I believe them bones are me. Some say we are born into the grave. I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile a them bones

                -J. Cantrell

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                • #9
                  First of all, you have to assess your needs. If you’re out in the sticks and 50 miles from the nearest decent hospital, you’ll need far more medical training than if you’re a few miles away.

                  I’ve seen way too many EMS people at firefighter training courses that couldn’t fight fire out of a wet paper bag, and end up “passing” the course because they’re book smart. They come back to the hall thinking that they’re superior in every way because they have a ton of training. When that crusty old jake tries to tell them something that’s going to keep them from getting killed, they roll their eyes because they know it all. Then out of the blue, the department beats the medical drum and all of the good old jakes get forced out, mostly by choice because they get tired of all the crap.

                  Does this sound like sour grapes? Personally, I passed my NFPA 1001 with a 91% average and have 18 solid years fighting fire. I’m not about to dismiss advanced medical training because quite frankly its just another course. Right now I have far too much learning to do in the realm of firefighting and don’t need the information overload. I’m content with trying to become the best FIREFIGHTER that I can, and deliver patients to the EMS people. As far as my crew is concerned, it’s my job to make sure that they get a ride back on a fire truck and not an ambulance.

                  Stay Safe

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                  • #10
                    IMO, it very much depends on the type of department.

                    In the US, I think there is a the public in general has an expectation in most communties that a paid (either fully piad or combo) will deliver some form of EMS. It may be first response with a private/third service transport or a fire department first response and/or transport. The fire service, in fact, has created this expectation in the public's mind. Many paid departments in fact have gotten additional staffing based on this expectation, and we better be prepared to deliver. IMO, some department's have taken it too far, requiring all members to be paramdics. Both of the career fire departments in my area require all firefighters and most support folks including dispatch and shop folks to get EMT.

                    On the volunteer side, I think that decision needs to be made on a local basis. In some places the volunteer or paid EMS is strong enough to function on thier own, and prefers to function on thier own, which is fine. In other areas, the community has expected the fire service to step up and deliver some level of EMS service. In many cases, this has brought the department extra visability, hence extra funding. I know that in the case of my combo department, much of what we have on the fire side is a direct result of the goodwill we have fostered as a result of our EMS activities. Without EMS, we would have much less. All our full-time folks, as well as our volunteers who work day shifts and fill in on the full-time slots are required to be EMTs. For our volunteer folks, it's an option, but since 85% of our runs are EMS, most get at least first responder simply to make more runs. The same is true with all of the surrounding combo fire districts.
                    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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                    • #11
                      ....no....
                      I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by swfire42
                        Should All FF's be EMT's or above
                        No. It should be a local decision based upon local needs.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by swfire42 View Post
                          What do you think? I think yes. Our job is changing and i think we need to keep up with the times. Thats just me though. Discuss.
                          I started in my current volunteer dept as an emt only, and it took me a while to learn how to operate in the dept quite a while just on that level. I don't think you need to require all FF's to be EMT's right off the bat. Let the new people get their feet wet learning to be firefighters and then after two or three years experience give them the option of expanding their skills on the ems side. The same is true of the EMT's that join just to run on the ambulance. Give them a couple of years to get used to operating in the dept and then maybe push them to think about fire training.

                          I don't want to comment on full time paid guys because it depends alot on what the chiefs and politicians are willing to fund, if the dept can't get enough funding to staff the big red trucks then don't require them to run EMS on top of everything else.
                          Mark Zanghetti
                          FF-EMT
                          Goshen Fire Dept.
                          Waterford, CT

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                          • #14
                            Massachusetts requires every police officer anfd firefighter to be trained to the minimum of first responder. They have to do 8 hours of refresher training every year.

                            98% of the members of my FD are a minimum of EMT-Basic.

                            We get 5% of base salary as compensation.
                            ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                            Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by FDAIC485 View Post
                              It depends on which direction the department that you are involved in is going. If you are volunteer, I would say No to EMT. Hold on, I'm not stiring-up the paid vs.vollie crap..just listen. You should not have to mandate that someone who is giving up their own time to keep up the EMT cert. Plus, a department that provides EMS first-responder and/or transport could justify going with full-time personel if they want "to do it right."
                              Now to the full-time FD's......the answer is Yes. If you are a career firefighter and you are not at least a basic, that FD's administration should all have their heads examined and/or fired. I know the FD that I work for would not have half the personnel or equipment if we did not provide EMS first responder and transport. You always have to question the messenger on this one. If you show me a firefighter that does not want to provide EMS in some form or fashion, I'll show you a person you will find in front of the TV or in bed sleeping at the earliest possible moment.
                              While I agree many of our staff chiefs should have their heads examined and our Commissioner be fired for incompetance, it isn't going to be for the reasons you cited.

                              1. - My job, I would wager has much better staffing than yours or just about anyones on here. Why is that? Did we attempt to tie our staffing needs to BS EMS runs? No. We based our staffing on the needs for fires and emergencies and what it takes to properly maintain our safety margins while still being able to continue saving lives and property. We have possitions, assignments and duties and a comprehensive plan of attack for just about ever forseeable type of structure and fire within that structure. That my friend is the real answer. Don't forget that many cities staffing has recently become under attack, why? Because the same politicans who thought the expanded role of EMS in the Fire Dept would have been a good thing, accuse the firemen of being wasteful and unneccesary as it doesn't take 4 or 5 men and a Fire Engine for a Unresponsive male on the side walk. Not to mention they use statistical comparisions that the large percentage of EMS runs to Fire runs (even though fire runs remain at roughly the same level and each fire requires the same response) some how justifys a reduction in staffing! So EMS for those cities actually was only a temporary stop gap and now the cities have the firemen left, running EMS runs for cheap and still attained the end result they desired (reduced companies and staffing)

                              2. - How many men does it take to run an EMS call? Usually 2 on a bus and 4for the rare but serious non-breathers. But 98% of the runs only requires two men on an ambulance. Doesn't help argue for more men now does it? Don't forget that any EMT's on a fire engine can't transport a patient either so that has little benefit in adding EMTs on a fire Engine when a Bus can help with Unit availability for the transporting bus and allowing the Engine Co's that do take in these runs to return to service that much quicker.

                              3. EMS is hardly related to our job despite what some want to claim. Firefighting is a respectable blue-collar, skilled trade that involves hands on evolutions and hard physical labor with little need for administrative work outside of the ancilary documentation of runs and dispostion of them, usually done by the officer. Firefighters command decent salaries and benefits, usually better than most other municipal workers.

                              EMS on the other hand is considered by most as a low to moderate paid, health care field with marginal benefits and a signifigantly high rate of burnout and turnover. There is tons of documentation and in comparision to Police officers appears more related than to the job of firemen. It is regarded as a white collar/medical field job and has minimal physical requirements. The compasion and human relation skills/traits that are found in those who gravitate towards these jobs, don't translate well to those found in those who gravitate towards being firemen. They don't even come close to commanding the same salaries and benefits as firemen do.

                              4. There are litterally 1000s of men on my job would want nothing to do with EMS and they are among the best firemen in the world that certainly don't sit around on the couch, We drill twice a day(officaly and unofficialy at just about every box) and I would wager get much less "rest" or TV time than you do.(Not that I understand what that has to do with certifcations) Many don't like risking additional exposure to disease and filth for what amounts to about $2000 extra a year. Most of us would gladly give that back to not run those EMS runs.

                              Does that mean we don't care to offer help when asked, no...but we certainly don't feel that we should be taking the jobs of hard working EMTs and Medics who belong to their own union for a fraction of the compensation in return to us. Some of us have more integrity than that.

                              5. The only reason we do run EMS today is a sell out traitor within the Union who sold the men out for his own personal gain. We don't get nearly enough to justify the risk to ourselves and most importantly our families. If a man gets injuried at a fire, he and he alone is effected; If he takes home some disease to his wife and children well then everyone is affected and that is unacceptable to us for $2000 a year.

                              6. Furthermore I was once a EMT and now I only have CFR-D. There really isn't much difference in terms of treatment around here. We still treat a Gunshot or stabbing the same, we treat a MVA the same, we give O2 to people who need it and stop the bleeding if neceesary and give compressions or Defib if needed. For the role we play, it is more than adequate.

                              I think your view of the fire service and EMS is a bit limited and shortsighted.

                              FTM-PTB
                              Last edited by FFFRED; 02-14-2007, 01:44 PM.

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