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  1. #1
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    Default Ambulance Crew at fires?

    We were having a discussion the other night and I wanted you guys to weigh in on it. What does your ambulance crew do at a structure fire? Around here it ranges from not even leaving the house to doing rehab, being dedicated to transport any firefighters injured, being in the initial RIT crew with tools off another company, being OV crew, to even being assigned fire attack. The departments that use the crews for Fire ground activities obviously provide space on the ambulance for turnout and SCBAs. We were just wondering what other departments do and how they account for tools, staging, rehab, etc.


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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    On my career FD they are firefighters and as such can and are assigned whatever job needs to be done,

    On my POC FDs they are not firefighters so they handle rehab and EMS.
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    Forum Member HuntPA's Avatar
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    If an ambulance is specifically asked for, then they will stay as rehab. If firefighters show up with the ambulance when an ambulance was not specifically called for, usually one will stay with the rig / rehab and the rest get further assignments.

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    An ambulance is dispatched on all area, commercial or special boxes. (house fires, commercial building fires or special occupancy fires). Their priorities are treating any injuries to firefighters or residents and transporting as necessary and providing rehab. Depending on who is on the ambulance, they may be assigned other duties such as accountability. They are almost never assigned actual firefighting duties since they probably don't have fire gear. We also don't want to split the crew in case they are needed for an injury and for accountability reasons.

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    At work, they're part of the initial assignment. If they're responding with their first due engine, they establish the initial RIT until the arrival of the second-due engine (we carry PPE, airpacks, and forcible entry tools on the ambulance). One the RIT engine gets there, they establish a rehab and treatment area.

    In the volunteer county, they're a completely separate organization. They're dispatched on the initial alarm, but simply fill a treatment capacity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Btownguy View Post
    We were having a discussion the other night and I wanted you guys to weigh in on it. What does your ambulance crew do at a structure fire? Around here it ranges from not even leaving the house to doing rehab, being dedicated to transport any firefighters injured, being in the initial RIT crew with tools off another company, being OV crew, to even being assigned fire attack. The departments that use the crews for Fire ground activities obviously provide space on the ambulance for turnout and SCBAs. We were just wondering what other departments do and how they account for tools, staging, rehab, etc.
    I think your question has a little bit of ambiguity to it.

    Are you asking about 1) a fire department ambulance staffed with FF/EMT-Medic personnel, 2) a fire department ambulance staffed with non-suppression personnel 3) a non-fire department ambulance staffed by EMT/Medics equipped and trained for fire duty or 4) a non-fire department ambulance staffed with non-suppression personnel?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    On my career FD they are firefighters and as such can and are assigned whatever job needs to be done
    This. Though we employ 2 medics that are "EMS Only" and if they're on the bus, they handle rehab. Of course anyone on the Boo Boo bus automatically do EMS if there are any victims present.

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    We have a career FF/PM 24/7/365 and a career FF/EMT Mon-Fri from 0600-1800. Our two ALS transport ambulances each carry two SCBA, a set of irons, a 6' hook and a can. When we get a building fire assignment in our local, the FF/EMT will usually get on the engine in some capacity, usually as a driver or FF. The ALS Bus will follow the engine out the door with the FF/PM and usually a volly will jump in and drive. If there are enough guys on the engine, both the FF/PM and FF/EMT will follow in the bus and both will act as a mini "Squad Company" at the scene and augment the engine crew and do whatever is needed- additional handline, open up, VES, roof, whatever.
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    On the box we get a medical QRV (if they can crew) and one BLS rig. They are assigned to rehab automatically. If it's a confirmed fire, a 2nd BLS rig will be requested dedicated for transports. This obviously will change as needed on scene.
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    My community has a private 911 EMS provider which is dispatched through our public safety dispatch center. They send a "bone box" to all working fires for EMS needs, and they usually set up the rehab area for us. In the event of a major incident, we can request the State of Massachusetts' Department of Fire Services Incident Rehab Unit to respond.
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    Our ambulance service is non-fire (independent NFP) which is staffed 24/7. They are often the first on scene as a result. Any fire personnel on the rig are purely coincidental, but can be handy as they can give a credible initial size-up which might result in everyone notching it up a bit, or a cancellation/hold-in-quarters for mutual aid units.

    EMS is dispatched for all structure fire reports. They'll normally function as rehab as needed. If they will be heavily involved (long incident), a second rig will be called in for transport, as others have mentioned. Unfortunately, due to lack of "exercise," our real event rehab practices aren't highly polished.

    Our neighbors vary on their ambulance service (still dispatched to reported structure fires). One area has a commercial service covering their district, another has another independent NFP, two others have FD based ambulances.
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    On my full time FD, the medic is dispatched as part of the initial assignment, (as should be done on ALL structure fires) and their first assignment it to treat any injured civilians. If they arrive first they give a rundown. They are FF's as well and carry turnouts and SCBA. If there are no persons injured or not needing immediate rescue, their job is to assist the 1st engine with stretching lines or water supply as needed. They also are responsible to stage in an area close to the fire, but not where they could become blocked in. They could also be assigned other jobs as needed by the IC, but that's rare. Whenever a fire is made a "working fire", an additional medic is sent specifically as a RIT medic and rehab. For additional victims, additional medics are sent as needed.

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    We don't have our own ambulance service. We contract with the neighboring FD ambulance.

    Normally, an ambulance is not dispatched on an initial alarm or 2nd alarm. First responders are dispatched for rehab on the 2nd alarm and if they request, then we get an ambulance. They would do nothing but EMS or rehab on the scene.
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    Combo Department ..

    Ambulances are run by the parish EMS agency. We have a bus at our station. ASll of the members are cross-trained to run our pump. They generally will do so at our fires, as well as assist in other exterior functions as many of them are either volunteer firefighters or career members working the ambo as a part-time gig.

    Volunteer Department ..

    EMS is provided by 2 private services. If there are firefighters on the truck they generally will help with exterior support tasks.
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    All ambos here are staffed with at least 2, sometimes 3 FF/PMs....and patient care takes precedence over all other assignments, but if there are no patients present, here's our assignment list.

    1st Due Ambo- 1 member assists Engine/Quint's engineer with hydrant connection, then meets up with 2nd due suppression company to form 4 man company.....1 member teams up with first in engine/quint to make 4 man company

    2nd & 3rd Due Ambo- Form RIT team, take tools from first due Quint

    4th Due Ambo- Rehab ambulance...may be a "runner" for IC if large incident

    If there is a patient and an ambo leaves to transport, another is automatically dispatched to replace it. If there are multiple victims, we will usually just jump to an EMS box which gives us 5 ambos, and go with our multiple causality protocols from there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ATFDFF View Post
    All ambos here are staffed with at least 2, sometimes 3 FF/PMs....and patient care takes precedence over all other assignments, but if there are no patients present, here's our assignment list.

    1st Due Ambo- 1 member assists Engine/Quint's engineer with hydrant connection, then meets up with 2nd due suppression company to form 4 man company.....1 member teams up with first in engine/quint to make 4 man company

    2nd & 3rd Due Ambo- Form RIT team, take tools from first due Quint

    4th Due Ambo- Rehab ambulance...may be a "runner" for IC if large incident

    If there is a patient and an ambo leaves to transport, another is automatically dispatched to replace it. If there are multiple victims, we will usually just jump to an EMS box which gives us 5 ambos, and go with our multiple causality protocols from there.
    It should also be noted that all our suppression apparatus are fully ALS stocked, so even if we have to wait 2 or 3 minutes for the next due ambo to arrive before transporting, any injured parties will be receiving ALS care...that's why we can put our first several to work, and wait until the 4th to have a true "standby" crew.

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    A full fire response: 4 engines, ladder, chief, ambo. The ambo stands by for whatever medical is necessary (either victims or firefighter support). While most of the ambo crews are qualified ff, they are enjoined from leaving the medical duties for supression, etc...

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    Forum Member conrad427's Avatar
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    Our ambulance crew always responds to structure fire as well as some of the bigger grass fires we have. The emt's do rehab for us and kind of wander around and see if we are okay. The chief will release them when it calms down. They play more of a standby role on grass fires. The department down the road has never see EMS at a fire unless they come over here to mutual aid.

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    Forum Member snowball's Avatar
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    My city has a privatized EMS service. Much like Chief Gonz's system, they are dispatched once a working fire notification is made. Then they just stand by and are released once salvage and overhaul are completed.

    Interesting note; Once a "working fire" notification is made, communications automatically dispatches EMS, gas and electric, P.D. For traffic control, and CERT or the Salvation Army volunteers. It works out well for command as those resources are checked off with a single transmition. If they are not needed, they can easily be canceled.
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