Yes — First Response Is Needed!

All too often, I hear from people outside the fire service that, "the fire service is just doing EMS to justify their jobs." These people are implying that there are fewer fires and the fire service needs to justify budgets.


All too often, I hear from people outside the fire service that, "the fire service is just doing EMS to justify their jobs." These people are implying that there are fewer fires and the fire service needs to justify budgets. They will argue that fire departments, such as the one recently in...


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Time measurements were conducted to determine how long it took to access the patient with all the necessary equipment, the time it took to get a history, the time it took to start an IV, the time it took to push drugs, the time to package the patient, the time it took to move the patient down several flights of stairs, etc. Some of the other 15 staffing and deployment patterns consisted of three paramedics on an ambulance and another scenario with two paramedics on an ambulance with four firefighters on a first-response vehicle. Other staffing patterns consisted of a basic life support (BLS) ambulance with one paramedic on the first-response engine.

Those I spoke with who were involved in the experiment said the trauma scenario showed a marked difference in the time-to-task functions as more paramedics and personnel were added to the scene. As an example, crews with one paramedic on the engine and one paramedic on the ambulance performed 1.8 minutes faster than crews with one paramedic on the engine and a BLS ambulance. The full amount of data and the results are expected to be released later this year.

<?xml:namespace prefix = pim />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.