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Does your FD even provide EMS, and if so or if not, why or why not?

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  • Does your FD even provide EMS, and if so or if not, why or why not?

    My VFD provides no EMS whatsoever except for the occasional EMS assist. We also do not go to MVAs unless extrication is needed, the car is burning, utility poles are damaged, or the car is leaking. We used to run an ambulance until 1980. (This was way before I was even alive. My dad graduated from high school that year, in fact.) In that year, we and another FD next to us gave up our ambulances and helped form a volunteer ambulance corps. They then merged with another volunteer ambulance corps in 2004 to form our all-paid EMS service. When Mohawk Ambulance tried to take over our town last year (before I joined), our chief and the other chiefs of the 4 non-EMS departments in our town were discussing plans to gain BLS first responder certs from the NYS Department of Health, since all FDs in our county that are served by Mohawk respond with them to almost all calls. (One FD in only does Charlies and above like they do with another EMS service in another town they cover, and no one goes to psych calls since the PD always shows up first to those. Funny thing is, until 2004, my town's PD responded to all medicals for first responder.)

    What does your FD provide, if any, for EMS?

  • #2
    My VFD provides no EMS whatsoever except for the occasional EMS assist. We also do not go to MVAs unless extrication is needed, the car is burning, utility poles are damaged, or the car is leaking. Pretty much sums it up. There is a separate volunteer EMS agency in town that has no interest in fighting fires and the FD has no interest in running EMS.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


    • #3
      My agency (municipal, career department) responds to EMS calls as "first responders". All firefighters are required to become state-certified EMT's within a year of hire. The city uses a private, hospital-based EMS system for transports. The fire department responded to roughly 30,000 calls last year and the private EMS agency had 50,000+ calls for service, so obviously the fire department does not go to every medical call. We're typically only dispatched to Charlie, Delta, or Echo-level calls, although we do respond to Bravo calls for falls and for shootings/stabbings (bravo often implies an unknown status for a GSW call). Every vehicle accident with injuries gets at least an engine.

      Our busier stations have two-man Squad companies that handle EMS calls so that the Engine and Truck companies can stay in service. Our EMS dispatch matrix looks something like this:

      "Normal" EMS call: 1 Squad or 1 Engine
      "Priority" EMS call (cardiac arrest, childbirth, pedestrian struck): 1 Squad AND 1 Engine
      MVC with injuries: 1 Engine
      MVC with entrapment: 1 Engine, 1 Squad, 1 Heavy Rescue

      No system is perfect, but I think our method for responding to medical calls is very beneficial to the people that we serve. We'll often have our assessment completed and treatment started before the transport unit even pulls up. Even on "routine" calls or when we get there behind the ambulance, it is still helpful having a few extra bodies to help load a patient or assist EMS with whatever else they might need. And, if a patient is critical or unstable, we'll have FF's ride in the transport unit with EMS so that they can continue to treat the patient and assist the medics.


      • #4
        My career department serves as the primary transport agency for our county. We're supplemented by three volunteer rescue squads who also provide ALS and BLS care. We operate 15 ALS ambulances staffed with one medic and one EMT. Our department does it all - ALS patient transport, regional technical rescue team, regional state hazardous materials team, dive rescue, etc, etc.

        My volunteer agency began doing EMS first responder in 1990, with EMS transports being handled by a volunteer rescue squad (VRS) that's an altogether different agency. We've responded to all auto accidents with injuries or entrapment since the 1970's. When we opened our new firehouse in 2011, the VRS was given a bay to park one of their ambulances in. Several members of the FD are qualified by the VRS to operate their ambulance, which we'll do occasionally during times of a high call volume, a nearby cardiac arrest, etc. Recently, some changes have occurred in the county that will result in the FD's state EMS license changing from "BLS First Responder" to "ALS Transport." This will be occurring in the next few months, so we'll see how this effects our approach to EMS, staffing, and the like.
        Career Fire Captain
        Volunteer Chief Officer

        Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!


        • #5
          My old outfit, the Bakersfield City Fire Department CA does not provide BLS or ALS EMS through the fire department. That service is provided by a private ambulance company. The former owner is now the City Mayor. I do not know if he still has any compand or control. The BFD responds over 22,000 times a year assisting said private ambulance company. The ambulance company transports. I do not know how much tax money is spent propping up the private company. A unigue situation? Dunno. HB of CJ (oldest coot) very old school. Dinosaur. Cave Man.


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