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  • Please Help Us!!!

    Is there anyone out there who can suggest something we can do to have our city fire department take the extrication tools back from us? Let me explain...we are a hospital based paramedic level ambulance service that carries extrication tools with us because the city fire chief refuses to be involved with extrication. Unfortunately, the mayor supports his decision not to do extrication. As a result, we are forced to spend $23,000.00 for turnout gear, when we could be spending that on much needed patient care equipment. In addition, we run as a two person crew. On nights, we have only one ambulance operating. If we get a roll over crash, that involves more than one patient, we do need to gain access. However, we also need to attend to the patient(s). We are forced to forgo patient care just because there was no one there to run the jaws. What if we have a critical load and go situation? What do we do with the extrication equipment? Occassionaly, we do get assistance from rural departments and they will run the jaws but the city fire department will not do extrication. They have the turnout gear and they have the trucks to haul the equipment, plus the manpower, yet they refuse. I should also point out to you that we get absolutely no money for extrication. We spend money! In the form of fuel and upkeep for this equipment. Our administration will not support us either. Further, many of us don't feel we have had adequate training nor do we want the training to be qualified to run such a valuable piece of equipment! It 's hard enough to keep up with paramedicine!

    Please help us with some suggestions on how to approach this situation. I look forward to your response. You may post either here or email me directly at [email protected] unbounded.com. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

    Gary W. Banister, NREMT-P

  • #2
    Sounds like the public need to be made aware of the attitudes of the fire chief, and the city council that supports him.

    Educate the public, and let them changes the faces on city council, then the council can change the fire chief for someone that places the citizens of area ahead of what ever agenda he appears to have.

    Does the city FD run first responder?


    • #3
      This is not a good situation.

      Like 721 says get the public involved, contact the local news media and tell them your story, you would be surprised how much public opinion can sway politions minds. Second if all else fails, hit the city in the pocket book, you are a hospital based service, and most hospital based EMS services bill either the Pt or the City, I would start charging for every extrication. Either the citezens will get fed up and demand extrication from the city or if you bill the city directly they will demand that the fire chief pick up extrication. Either way you win.

      FF/EMT-B Paul Cullen
      Frederick MD.



      • #4
        I am periodically amazed to here of such dinasors still in existance in the fire service.

        Our department took over the ambulances from a hospital that could no longer provide the service, performs confined space rescue, low and high angle rope rescue, heavy rescue and auto extrication, hazmat, aircraft crash rescue all in addition to ordinary structural fire fighting.

        The days of just firefighting are over but some old chiefs just haven't done themselves, their personnel, and their community the favor of retiring.

        I must agree that using the media is your best solution and swaying public opinion in your favor. It will not be easy but this guy has got to go!!!


        • #5
          Thank you for your suggestions.

          The city fire department only responds on MVA's within the city limits. No medical calls.

          The news media is very anti-hospital. The reasons I don't know but they never mention us, in the newspaper, when we respond. They don't like us.

          The cops like us and respond to almost everything we do. We share a great camaraderie.

          Please give me some more suggestions. Let's hear from some officers. Thank you.

          Gary W. Banister, NREMT-P


          • #6
            I feel for you. Every emergency service is straped tight on manpower and funds.

            First question is Does the state require you to have extracation capabilitys or is it because the fire chief refused to take responsibility for the public that pays his salery and go to the voting booths?

            I would also like to know the size of the city.
            Where I am we make over 5,000 runs a year.
            Out of all them we only have about 200 house fires, A 1,000 or so other types and all the rest are EMR runs. I thank the city every year when it comes time to renew our union contract because our department is responsible for Fires, rescues,MVA, hazmat, fire prevention,rope rescue, and any other emergency that can come up.

            Most of us are EMTs.
            We have two ambalance services here,one is a County Hospital.
            We have a enhansed 911 system that weeds out all non emergencys but we run on most EMRs.
            When a call comes in we are dispatched at the same time as the ambalance is. We usally get there first because of our 3 min. response area. The ambalance is based in one location so it takes them longer to respond.

            On MVAs we dispatch a pumper and a Heavy Rescue truck. The reason is SAFETY. SAFETY for the victim and for the emergency workers.

            We have 3 men on a pumper and 2 men on the rescue. Plus the ambalance crew of 2.

            Most of the time everybody is real busy.

            Good luck and inform the public with word of mouth. It does work. I teach CPS to the public and 10 years ago we had a bad 911 system so I informed every student to talk to anybody that would listen. We now have advanced 911 and we are getting the cardiac
            The Chief should be fired for not taking care of the public.

            You should check with the Department of Health and OSHA about the safety issue when doing auto extracation.

            Good Luck


            • #7
              Me again, I never realized that CPR could be mispelled. But I did.


              • #8
                Does your hospital spend much money with the news media for advertising? Do your marketing and public relations departments try to improve your relationship with them? Are they notified, well in advance, of any open houses or special events which involve your crew? Have you made any effort to get to know the reporters and especially the news editors? They all need to be greased occasionally. Be sure to thank them every time you get a good story reported.

                The place for the pressure is the Mayor. The
                fire department and chief will do what he tells them to do. They may be doing exactly that now. Besides, the ordinance that authorized the creation of the fire department may say that it's duty is only to fight fire. It has happened before and the city council can amend it if they desire.

                In my area the fire service handles all rescue and extrication. That includes both
                the career and volunteer departments. Most also provide first response emergency medical services.

                I have seen both sides. I am a firefighter and I used to work for a hospital ambulance department. The ambulance and fire services
                must work together for your community to receive the maximum protection that it deserves.


                • #9
                  The news media is only interested in publishing dirt on the hospital, which will be coming soon enough. We are in the process of going union. I have no idea what the relationship is with the hospital and public relations department but so far it doesn't look good.

                  Is there anyone (chiefs?) that can put pressure on this chief, on our behalf? This is different teritory for us that's why I am approaching the subject in this forum. Is there another forum I should be in?

                  PLEASE HELP US!!!


                  • #10
                    I mentioned teaching CPR as a good way to spread the word but as stated by others on this form you need to be seen as often as possible and in a positive way such as teaching CPR and having open house.

                    I have found that the public does not really know what the fire dept.funtion is or the role of the ambalance service.

                    Starting a Union can be hard on a dept. but in some states there are laws to protect members trying to unionize.

                    Remember that a citizen may only come in contact with the emergancy service once in a lifetime so get out there and publisize your hard work and desire to help the public.

                    The citizens probely think that thier tax dollers are going for more than house fires.

                    Good luck and stand out.


                    • #11
                      Unbelievable! In todays fire service we are constantly having to justify our existence. I am a captain in a department of 11 paid personnel. We do it all, firefighting, extrication, haz mat, EMS, cats in a tree etc. I can't imagine a Chief of a department choosing not to do extrication. I sympathize with your situation. I couldn't imagine spending the time to extricate a pt. and then being responsible for their well being especially if there is more than one pt. I would consider billing for the extrication possibly to help increase your staffing and keep the public aware of the situation. Hang in there.


                      • #12
                        I've been following this thread in utter amazement, I'm probably among many others that are just flabbergasted that a Fire Department doesn't want the responsibility of auto-extrication. You guys have enough on your plates with the medical end. You mentioned that you have a good rapport with the PD, perhaps you can get the PBA on your band wagon as they do a lot of work with the public through their charity work. The problem with the media is age-old, they never want to publish the good news, it just doesn't sell, the public is inherently consumed for the desire of other people's mis-fortunes. As far as the FD end, is it just an issue with the Fire Chief? Do you guys get along with the firefighter's? Is he elected by the public, appointed by the Mayor? There has to be some way to influence the decision to re-appoint or keep him there. Everybody answers to somebody, and when you get high enough, they answer to everybody, that's why it's called democracy.


                        • #13
                          Well I didn't read all the replies, but sounds to me that the Mayor has a serious attitude problem not to mention the level of incompitence for the fire/ems field!! Common sense tells us that if there are EMS, and Fire both available then the fire dept. does the rescue while the medics care for the patients!!... what's with this guy anyway??.. what an idiot!!... I bet if his loved one was in a serious accident he'd want the medics tending to her, and the fire department doing rescue!.. Maybe sombody needs to explain it to him from the "Golden Hour" standpoint!
                          Time is critical when dealing with rescue! My suggestion is educate the public about the situation.. that's who the ultimate boss is anyway!!
                          As a Firefighter/Emt-I one thing I learned real quick is that to be 100% effective in rescue you must do one or the other! Operating the Hurst tools then providing medical attention is totally insane!.. If the Fire Chief was half the Officer he's supposed to be then he would fight the issue in your favor. I have no patience for total ignorance!.. sounds to me like both Chief and the Mayor both need to be bagging groceries cause neither one is doing worth a crap at they're current jobs!

                          just my opinion..


                          • #14
                            Amazing story...The mayor and the Fire Chief have some explaining to do, and the Hospital Administration should know when to get out of something that will set them up for a major law suit. How did you get this equipment in the first place? Why did the Administration spend so much on turnouts, gear, etc. then not train you guys properly to use it? And why are you still using it in a manner that undermines any patient care standards and goes beyond your scope of training? Your paramedic licenses are on the line with this situation as well as the Hospitals' accreditation. A good lawyer can find you personally negligent if you keep operating in this manner knowing that you are putting the patient at risk. Your hospital is probably run by a board or management outfit that needs to be made aware of this immediately.
                            Don't give up, the changes needed are pretty obvious and can be made rather quickly when the right people find out about it.
                            Be Safe, Frank


                            • #15
                              Any fire chief who fails to realize that the fire service is a diversified field and we do more than firefighting is living with his head buried in the sand and is doomed to fail.I work for a metro fire department that performs fire / ems / and rescue with extrication equipped ladder trucks, and an advanced technical rescue team. also part-time with an EMS/rescue department. If we respond to a mvc we let the rescue squad personnel perform the rescue and the EMS personnel perform patient care.one operation or the other.you can't perform both functions at the same time, someone suffers: the patient the providers etc.In order to provide the rescue skills needed to work efficently you need to increase your staffing, training and add a rescue squad to perform this function.maybe you need to do an article in the local paper / tv station in what is required to perform this function.If you need S.O.G.'s on operations for rescue squads, training etc. e-mail me and I will see what we can get for you. Also check out Maryland in the firehouse links for rescue squads, ie. Community Rescue Service, Bethesda Chevy-Chase Rescue Squad, Wheaton Rescue Squad etc. Good Luck!


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