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  • kfactor
    replied
    If your position that Density was the driving force behind our staffing, then Hoboken and West New York, NJ would have much better staffing per company than us, No?
    FFFRED, Hoboken, good example to take a look. I spent a summer years ago at Stevens, brings back a few memories. Your correct, Hoboken is denser than NYC, about 30K/sq. mi. But is painfully obviously why they don't have FDNY staffing per company. If Hoboken was part of NYC, the 40,000 residents would be easily be covered by a single engine co. and single truck co. 40,000 per engine is almost exactly FDNY coverage and 40,000 per truck would actually be better than FDNY 55,000 residents per truck. Sq. mileage coverage would be actually be better - 1.3 sq. mi for that single engine vs. FDNY's 1.5 sq. mi. /engine and 1.3 for that single truck would be much better than FDNY's 2.3 sq. mi./truck. So FFFRED, could Hoboken staff at FDNY per company if Hoboken was just a part of NYC? Absolutely! Looks as though Hoboken runs 3 engines, 2 ladders and rescue - Hoboken actually spends a fair amount on the FD, pretty substantial numbers, but even with that extra funding, can't match FDNY as you state when thye are staffing 6 companies vs. what FDNY would staff as 2 companies for that size population.

    Your arguing that you have fought for the FDNY company staffing - no question you have, but the main reason it is even on the table is because of NYC population density. You have about 40,000 residents supporting every engine and 55,000 supporting every truck - provide that support for other FDs and you could staff every paid engine and truck in the U.S. with 6. Other communities don't have that level of support - because the population is spread much thinner, companies are spread out and more numerous and per company staffing goes down. Why is it that dense cities like NYC, you talk about staffing at 5-6, moderate density and your at 4-5, and lower densities at 3-4 with more pure suburban 2-3 per company - it is a no brainer, it's density.

    Example New England city I'm very familiar with, spends about $130/capita with a population density of 5000/sq. mi. You want to duplicate FDNY coverage in that city with co. staffing of 6, that $130 goes to about $560 or a factor of about 4.5x. Suprise! that city has a density that is about 1/5 that of NYC. The most affluent communities in New England don't even spend that much per capita, let alone a deteriorating city with a substanial % of the population below the poverty line.

    Bottom line FFFREd is that every community provides the FD with roughly the same size piece of the pie from the municipal revenues - you can spread the more companies out with lower staffing per company, reduce the number of companies and bump up co staffing, etc. - the common denominator is the slice of pie, not firefighting strategy or tactics or even demand for that matter. If that were true, why is it that cities like Detroit don't have the best equipment, staffing at 6, etc. It is predominantly demographics and economics FFFRED.

    Your comment with regard to companies running 500 or so calls per year - answer = risk. FFFRED, do you drive, if you have a family, do you put your kids in car? Motor vehicle risk is very high - #1 killer for a good part of our lives. Auto fatality risk is about 1/10,000. I'll bet you drive and why is that, because the benefit you gain from driving and putting your kids at the highest risk of death they could be exposed to outweighs the risk. FD or no FD, the risk of fire death is even lower, 1/100,000 - do you live in a non-combustible house with no combustible contents, no electricity or fuels as source of ignition or additional fuel? I'll bet you don't - again, why is that, you've minimized the risk based on your knowledge and the benefit outweighs the risk.

    When companies are doing 500 runs a year, that means calls are down, all fires are down, serious fires are down, fatal fires are down, etc. In other words, the risk has been lowered. Now you FFFRED accept a 1/10,000 risk of auto death and you expect Joe and Jane citizen to get worked up about 1/100,000 risk of fire death so much that they are willing to spend tax dollars on 5-6 person co staffing in what is a more typical 4K-5K population density city or down to 500 - 1K density in more suburban areas?? And spending dollars on the FD isn't necessarily going to change the 1/100,000 risk of fire death - people die in fires sometimes even when a well-staffed FD like FDNY shows up. You talk about the FD as "insurance." Insurance allows you to transfer risk in exhange for some premium. There is no guarantee that property or lives will be saved when dollars are spent on the FD - much of the outcome of a fire is out of the FDs hands. What's going to happen is taht they are going to accept the risk of lower staffing per company or longer response times because just like you accept the risk of driving for the benefit, they will gain benefit from spending their dollars elsewhere.

    When you are in NYC and you have 40K people supporitng every engine co., you can get away with taking a position that we only do fire. Wehn you are down to 10-15K people supporting every engine and 500 runs/year, it is almost a sure bet you would lose. Taxpayers are not going to fund fire only 5-6 man staffing to address a 1/100,000 risk when firefighters just like you FFFRED are willing to accept a 1/10,000 risk driving a car everyday.

    I admire your passion and interest in the issue, but your position defies reality to a substantial degree. I think most of your union brothers and sisters also don't see it your way - I doubt it most outside of a few of the bigger older cities would give up EMS.

    The only solution to the fire problem in the US isn't FDs - building codes, detectors, sprinklers, etc. and the industries that support them are as hungry or hungrier than you to get a piece of the fire pie. You can get away with taking your position in NYC, but in most other communities it is a loser. Sometimes you need to change with the times. Provide something additional of value to the citizens and focus on keeping yourself safe with possibly some less than ideal staffing and you can continue to put food on the table and show up at that table after every shift.
    Last edited by kfactor; 03-11-2007, 12:12 AM.

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  • drparasite
    replied
    Originally posted by HotTrotter View Post
    And you know the best part. The ambulance service always gets paid for it's services. MANY FDs provide EMS service for no charge. So sense the Ambulance service is getting paid maybe they should increase their staffing levels. Oh yea, if they do that the guy at the top won't get his huge check anymore.
    actually, you are wrong. ambulance services do not always get paid for services. in fact, if I'm not mistaken, most have collection rates below 50%.

    Further, ambulance companies often don't get a dime when they transport people who don't have insurance. They have to write it off as a loss.

    Additionally, if an ambulance charges $800 for a transport, and the insurance company give them only $200, guess what. no, the company doesn't charge the patient for the rest, they take the $200 and write the rest as a loss.

    Lastly, if someone doesn't have insurance, or can't pay, you can't refuse services. So even if you know you are going to lose money on a job, you can't not treat the person. Oh yeah, and unlike the fire department who is funded by taxes, many ambulance companies are 3rd party agencies, where the majority (if not all) of their funding comes from the revenue they bring in from their transports. So while a fire department can operate without charging since their funding comes form taxes, most ambulance companies aren't so lucky.

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  • VinnieB
    replied
    Originally posted by HotTrotter View Post
    And you know the best part. The amblance service always gets paid for it's services. MANY FDs provide EMS service for no charge. So sense the Ambulance service is getting paid maybe they should increase their staffing levels. Oh yea, if they do that the guy at the top won't get his huge check anymore.

    You are right, recently FDNY/EMS started to charge for ambulance rides. But I think the money, which is only at about 50% collection, goes into the cities general fund. But that means nothing if most of the pts are uninsured or have medicaid. You cant get blood from a stone.

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  • HotTrotter
    replied
    Originally posted by DrParasite View Post
    you know, there is a really easy solution to this question. stop going on first response runs. how to do you do that? simple. take your existing ambulance staffing, and double it. if your town has 2 ambulances, make it 4. if you have 30, make it 60. eliminate the need for a first responder, only go on calls when additional manpower is needed.

    or even better, if you are cities, make sure you have as many ambulances as you have engine companies. you should probably have even more, since there are more ambulance runs than engine company runs (subtracting the EMS ones).

    but until EMS gets the resources it needs (and if the IAFF supported this, it would help, but I digress) career FDs will continue to go on EMS runs. and then I still think you should have at least one EMT on a crew that is doing a first response assignment.
    And you know the best part. The amblance service always gets paid for it's services. MANY FDs provide EMS service for no charge. So sense the Ambulance service is getting paid maybe they should increase their staffing levels. Oh yea, if they do that the guy at the top won't get his huge check anymore.

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  • HotTrotter
    replied
    Originally posted by FFFRED View Post
    Your firemen aren't proficent in the use of torches? That is a first. Are your rescue squads comprised of firemen? The point is that the skill-sets, competancies and type of work is similar and interelated, as opposed to medical runs. All firemen due to the nature of our work are familiar with utilites, structural components and ropes, rigging to some degree or another, use of saws, torches. Our SOC companies are responsible to the most technical work, but again, they are firemen and the work they are doing is very closely related and intertwined with our very basic responsibilites as firemen.
    FTM-PTB
    TORCHES!!??? You have torches? What he hell, we don't have any torches. I guess we will need to get some torches.

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  • VinnieB
    replied
    Originally posted by DrParasite View Post
    you know, there is a really easy solution to this question. stop going on first response runs. how to do you do that? simple. take your existing ambulance staffing, and double it. if your town has 2 ambulances, make it 4. if you have 30, make it 60. eliminate the need for a first responder, only go on calls when additional manpower is needed.
    That's the way things used to work I believe.

    or even better, if you are cities, make sure you have as many ambulances as you have engine companies. you should probably have even more, since there are more ambulance runs than engine company runs (subtracting the EMS ones).
    We have some 200+ Engine Cos.....and 400+ ambulances

    The Avg is about 1000 EMS a year for an Engine.....and the Ambulances Avg
    about 3250 a year...over 200,000 to thier 1.3 Million.

    but until EMS gets the resources it needs (and if the IAFF supported this, it would help, but I digress) career FDs will continue to go on EMS runs. and then I still think you should have at least one EMT on a crew that is doing a first response assignment.
    Why do we need an EMT when a CFR-D in NY can do just as much? Also, the response matrix here needs to be changed. Ambulances can be reassigned for high classes of emergencies, ie...assigned to a Sick job when an arrest comes in, but an Engine Co will not be taken off of a Diff breather for a 1st due job. To me, especially in my area, a fire in a PD is way more important than the 90 year old that coughed then someone paniced and called 911. As FFRED stated....98% of the EMS runs here are total BS. The system is screwed up and needs to be fixed. We do not need ALS engines, but we could use more ALS busses. If the city would give EMS a competitive salary, decent benefits and a secure future then they would attract more people. The cost to operate an ALS bus is far less than an ALS Engine. We are not remote from our hospitals and we have highly trained professional medics that can get to a pt and transport to a world class hospital all within 15-20 minutes, from the time a caller dials 911 to the time the pt is being triaged. I remember when I worked EMS. My partner and averaged 10 minutes from 10-63 (call received/responding) to 10-81 (at hospital) from serious runs.....and 20 minutes for everything else. I would say thats the avg....maybe a bit longer for SI and Queens. Its pointless for me to start IVs when medics are on my heals.
    Last edited by VinnieB; 03-05-2007, 02:54 PM.

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  • drparasite
    replied
    you know, there is a really easy solution to this question. stop going on first response runs. how to do you do that? simple. take your existing ambulance staffing, and double it. if your town has 2 ambulances, make it 4. if you have 30, make it 60. eliminate the need for a first responder, only go on calls when additional manpower is needed.

    or even better, if you are cities, make sure you have as many ambulances as you have engine companies. you should probably have even more, since there are more ambulance runs than engine company runs (subtracting the EMS ones).

    but until EMS gets the resources it needs (and if the IAFF supported this, it would help, but I digress) career FDs will continue to go on EMS runs. and then I still think you should have at least one EMT on a crew that is doing a first response assignment.

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  • FFFRED
    replied
    Originally posted by SPFDRum View Post
    Tried, didn't work.
    Congrats...there aren't many like you. I assure you they will try and try again until they undermine your depts integrity...they've been trying for decades around here to undermine Civil service and finally found an ear with our socially liberal Mayor and his puppet commisioner.

    What is the collapse caused by? Snow or disaster, then it's the medium collapse team that does the work. All the rest of the tools are basic firefighting tools, except the torches, which for use are one the rescue squads. We have yet to have a residential structure fire result in the use of the cutting torches. But as we are a rail hub, the squads, which is an appointed position with a corresponding pay raise, and specialized training, have. So if every company in New York is training in medium collapse rescue and shoring trained, with all the required tools, I applaud you. Unfortunately for use, we are not and only certain companies are trained and equiped in this.
    Your firemen aren't proficent in the use of torches? That is a first. Are your rescue squads comprised of firemen? The point is that the skill-sets, competancies and type of work is similar and interelated, as opposed to medical runs. All firemen due to the nature of our work are familiar with utilites, structural components and ropes, rigging to some degree or another, use of saws, torches. Our SOC companies are responsible to the most technical work, but again, they are firemen and the work they are doing is very closely related and intertwined with our very basic responsibilites as firemen.

    Yea, 20+ minute ambulance waits, lousy service, and an below average EMS delivery. Unfortunately, in Minnesota, if you first respond in your engine and start patient care, you can't abandon them while waiting for the ambulance to arrive if you think it's taking to long. Although we are a comparatively small department, we still try to be progressive enough to prevent regression.
    My point was imagine what it would be if cities would dedicate appropriate staffing and resources to what is a critical service...EMS. Just because they obviously didn't commit enough resources for this and the FD decided to pick up the work as a stop-gap measure for what I would imagine is relatively little in compesation as compared to full time EMS staffing doesn't justify either the poor effort before or the farming out of the service on the cheap to a FD shamed into working more for less.

    I would like to agree, but all I have to do is look to my neighbor and see what their city has done to that department. It's been cut 25% in the last 5 years, even though the run volume continues to increase.
    Though I will admit, it is NOT a perfect system and yes it has it's fault. But with a good union, we have managed to keep our heads above water!
    Once again. What have they done to articulate their position and value to the taxpayer? Have they outlined, positions and responsibilites? Have they demonstrated and shown what is lost when staffing is cut. Have the performed timed trials and presented those facts with what a typical fire time line allows for rescue and successful extinguishment. Have they brought up examples of civilians alive today due to their staffing and what would have happened to them if the staffing levels were cut?

    Their staffing has been cut?...how is their pay and duties in relation to yours? Perhaps their city is pressuring them due the actions of other nearby depts? Is it possible you could give more information on their staffing and how they define their needs. To say that all of this is because of EMS is being overly simplistic and looking for the answer where you perhaps would like it to be, not necessarily where it actually lies.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 03-05-2007, 11:00 AM.

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  • JHR1985
    replied
    According to state guidelines and what I was told in Medic school.... EMT-B's here are not supposed to test blood sugar....

    When I was riding out as an EMT.... they wouldnt let me take a blood sugar in the hospital or riding out... kind of sucks.

    So my view of EMT's are tainted.

    I view most of them as... nothing more than certified first responder with a 4 week class attached to it. So, when I say that I believe all should be EMT's... I basically mean First Responder's.

    Most of the EMT's I've run on with the county can do nothing more than take a blood pressure and tell me where she is hurting.

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  • ChicagoFF
    replied
    Here the only thing emt-b's can do that I can't is test blood sugar, give oral glucose, assist the patient with epi pen or nitro (not give themselves - just assist) and put a c-collar on. That's it. Why would I keep my emt certs up for that? I dropped my emt and it was the best move I ever made. We are going through a goofy program here of having FF/EMT staffed BLS ambo's on the street (13 so far, ambo #'s 80 - 92, 93 and 94 are at the shops numbered and ready to go in march). By dropping my emt-b I can never be sent to a BLS ambo. On the downside I lost 5% pay and the ability to put in for spots on ALS engines. It was well worth it and I have never looked back. The new people being hired off of the '06 test will have to keep up the emt as a condition of employment (if they ever get around to hiring off this list! ). Poor bastards! I am happy with being a plain old fireman on a non-als engine.
    Last edited by ChicagoFF; 03-04-2007, 06:19 PM.

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  • Paul343
    replied
    In my opinion at least first responder.

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  • MTFires
    replied
    Mikey hits the nail on the head, different needs in different areas, even different needs in different departments of the same area.

    Interesting what "EMS" and "firefighting" means to various people, it seems that predominantly departments in the east separate the functions completely and violently oppose cross-training, plus (unbelievably to me) the union card seems to be a part of that. Yet in my entire 20 year career EMS and firefighting have been intertwined - one includes the other, so I cannot imagine being "just a firefighter". I was amazed to learn many years ago that in the NJ town a close friend lives in they have a Fire Department, an Ambulance Squad, AND a Rescue Squad - and cannot imagine doing it different.

    In my current fire district here in Western Montana we run on everything that does not need a gun, and more than a few that do. Fires, MVAs, high angle rescue, Haz-Mat, heart attacks, rectal bleeds, whatever, they call 911 and they get us. While I was perusing this thread yesterday we were called on an MVA hit and run. We ended up following the guy till he finally wrecked out and caught up to him down the interstate a ways. As soon as he was initially under control by the LEOs some of us went into EMS mode to care for him as others controlled the burning truck he had been driving, and still others controlled traffic. Then we ended up helping the LEOs wrestle the him back to the ground when he broke free (my fault for having cuffs removed to package him). Was that originally in my job description? No, but it saved him, the LEO's and us further injury, and mostly it served the public. The night before we extricated 3 people from a violent rollover in nearly the same spot - cut them out of the car and cared for them while 3 of our members stood by on hose lines, then transported one to the hospital in our ALS ambulance while contract ALS ambulances transported the others.

    There is no question that many in this forum are better firefighters or EMTs (B, I or P) than I am by pure experience. Would I be a better firefighter if I concentrated solely on firefighting and gave up the EMS creds? Certainly not, it would not change a thing, except perhaps loosen up about 24 hrs a year for my family due to the recert classes I would not need to take, plus of course the calls i would not be going on, I really do not see that being good in one area detracts from being good in another.

    It is a personal choice - I became a volunteer to help, and being a firefighter/EMT satisfies that eminently, I would not change a thing and personally think those that stay with one narrow vocation are missing a lot. However, despite all that I have seen and read about it, I cannot imagine what it would be like to be either a firefighter or an EMT in an inner city, so will certainly not judge anyone based on that.

    So - as best as I can see there is no wrong way as long as Mrs Smith gets what she needs.

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  • SPFDRum
    replied
    I can assure you in the future certain minority groups will if they haven't already argue that, that a specific requirement(EMT) has a disparate impact on their ability to be hired and some liberal judge will go right along with it...it has been done elsewhere in cities large and small.
    Tried, didn't work.
    Sure, Collapsed buildings with compromised utilities, cutting torches, saws, search, victim removal, associated fires...you are so right....nothing to do with the job or skills of a fireman.
    What is the collapse caused by? Snow or disaster, then it's the medium collapse team that does the work. All the rest of the tools are basic firefighting tools, except the torches, which for use are one the rescue squads. We have yet to have a residential structure fire result in the use of the cutting torches. But as we are a rail hub, the squads, which is an appointed position with a corresponding pay raise, and specialized training, have. So if every company in New York is training in medium collapse rescue and shoring trained, with all the required tools, I applaud you. Unfortunately for use, we are not and only certain companies are trained and equiped in this.
    Imagine what it would have been had your city actually dedicated EMS resources to this issue and not farm it out to an agency that already has enough on its plate.
    Yea, 20+ minute ambulance waits, lousy service, and an below average EMS delivery. Unfortunately, in Minnesota, if you first respond in your engine and start patient care, you can't abandon them while waiting for the ambulance to arrive if you think it's taking to long. Although we are a comparatively small department, we still try to be progressive enough to prevent regression.
    I really don’t buy the whole EMS creates more jobs, or maintains jobs argument.
    I would like to agree, but all I have to do is look to my neighbor and see what their city has done to that department. It's been cut 25% in the last 5 years, even though the run volume continues to increase.
    Though I will admit, it is NOT a perfect system and yes it has it's fault. But with a good union, we have managed to keep our heads above water!
    (98% are complete BS and can be handled by a bus or even a taxi)
    This doesn't change anywhere.
    It's hard to compare- you have what 7 million people your service area to our 300,000- would our system work there, probably not.

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  • FFFRED
    replied
    Originally posted by SPFDRum View Post
    Well if you don't want to be an EMT or above, don't come to St. Paul. You have to be at minimum an EMT to get hired. Besides, nothing keeps you staffing up better than true run volume. Adding some 30,000 ems runs does wonders.
    First along with that required EMT status...I can assure you in the future certain minority groups will if they haven't already argue that, that a specific requirement(EMT) has a disparate impact on their ability to be hired and some liberal judge will go right along with it...it has been done elsewere in cities large and small.

    As for maintaining staffing based on runs. If that is truly what your city council believes then good for you (for now). As they are clearly of average intelligence and apparently haven't figured out how 30,000 EMS runs doesn't take 4 or 5 men or even 3 as two on an ambulance can handle most and have the added ability to transport.

    Our city is already working on framing the discussion of how the fire department is superfolus as we run x-amount of first responder calls.(98% are complete BS and can be handled by a bus or even a taxi). They are doing this for two reasons to attack our staffing and to attack our pay and benefits. Remember even without poaching EMS firemen command better salaries and benefits than EMS workers...the city would much prefer we be looked at in that light of the later rather than the former.

    Someday when the purse strings are pulled tight you will have to justify sending 3,4 or 5 men to a difficulty breathing and some councilman looking for face time will begin a crusade to rid the Fire Department (who fastened their fireground staffing argument to the wagon of unrelated EMS needs) of what he will portray as wasteful spending on guys sitting around doing nothing to justify what amount to "no show jobs" in his opinion. If you don't think the ICMA or others haven't forumlated these strategies you are saddly mistaken.

    EMS worked for awhile but cities have the taste of blood and they will always want more. The EMS argument only works for awhile until they realize that it doesn't justify the staffing or commitment of resources. If FD's don't reframe the duties and responsibilites of firemen on the fireground in a manner that illustrates the value and needs of properly staffing a fire department then you will be loosing your staffing and I don't know of anymore unrelated career fields we intend on poaching that could save you from your poorly constructed arguments.

    We managed to protect our measly 300,000 population fairly well since running ALS in 1973. With a well respected fire dollar loss ratio and a 25% cardiac survivability vs. the nation average of 4.5%.
    Imagine what it would have been had your city actually dedicated EMS resources to this issue and not farm it out to an agency that already has enough on its plate.

    Being we also have a USAR team, the training requirements to maintain competency in that is more involved that maintaining an EMT or even medic tag.
    Perhaps but the job duties are actually related to the skill sets that firemen should be proficent in.

    Seeing that this has absolutely nothing to do with suppression, what is the difference? Just like the medics, they still have to respond and perform all tasks required on the fire ground.
    Sure, Collapsed buildings with compromised utilies, cutting torches, saws, search, victim removal, associated fires...you are so right....nothing to do with the job or skills of a fireman.

    If one wants to make the claim that we are spreading ourselves to thin, especially using ems as the catalyst, then it would hold true for all the extras fire departments are required to do. So with that as the basis of a comparison, and argument, the only way to maintain basic firefighting skills would be to have separate EMS, haz-mat, and tech rescue divisions. As they all require training and proficiency well above basic suppression skills.
    Haz-Mat and Technical rescue are hand in hand with firefighting and the nature of the work. Similar circumstances and similar skills and physcial abilities as well as the fact that fire is many times a signifigant factor or risk. Firefighting has always been more than simple suppression...we are talking skill sets not a series of tactics or selective duties.

    EMS duties are not related to the blue collar field of work anymore than the duties of an Air-Traffic Controler are.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 03-04-2007, 02:22 PM.

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  • jasper45
    replied
    We don’t require you to be an EMT to apply here, but it is a condition of employment once you are hired. I really don’t buy the whole EMS creates more jobs, or maintains jobs argument. It certainly hasn’t worked here, as we have been cut significantly every year for the past four years. All of these cuts have been made while we provide EMS.
    I believe that EMS at the basic level has a role in the fire service, simply because our locations in neighborhoods enables us to respond very quickly. ALS level service is something that should be provided by people who want to do that work, in much the same way that we have people who work in US&R.
    EMS is also different in smaller communities. There is a world of difference in how EMS is approached in my department compared to the department my brother works for, in which their run volume is in range of about 5,000 or so, total.

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