In December 2008, on an icy winter night in Memphis, TN, a motor vehicle accident occurred on a local interstate highway. Nobody was driving fast because an ice storm was passing through the area. As ice and rain stuck to the ground, driving became very hazardous. People in Memphis are not used to...
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But it does not have to be a serious medical or trauma emergency. Many times, extra hands are needed on patients with minor injuries too. Take the case of someone who slipped and fell on the second floor of a residence and has a suspected neck and back injury. If there was just an ambulance on the scene, the crew would have to bring immobilization equipment and a stretcher to the second floor. They would probably have to leave the patient's side to do this. But if an engine company was on the scene with four firefighters, all of these tasks could be completed much sooner, the patient would not be left alone and the extra manpower could be used to carry the stretcher down from the second floor.
First-responder companies, whether engine or truck, play a vital role in any emergency medical service system. Do not discount their value and do not view them in only one role.
GARY LUDWIG, MS, EMT-P, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a deputy fire chief with the Memphis, TN, Fire Department. He has 32 years of fire-rescue service experience. Ludwig is chairman of the EMS Section for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), has a master's degree in business and management, and is a licensed paramedic. He is a frequent speaker at EMS and fire conferences nationally and internationally, and can be reached through his website at www.garyludwig.com.