1. #1
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    Angry Who does not respond to accidents and why?

    I am trying to understand why a Fire Department whose vehicles have Fire/ Rescue painted on them do not respond to accidents with injuries. Last time I check, isn't a vehicle accident with injures under NFPA, labeled as a rescue. If I am wrong, please tell me why? My dept believes if it ran all accidents with injuries, we would run to many calls and lose members. (100% Vol.). I guest I joined the department 25 years ago for the wrong reasons, I thought we where here to serve the community.

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    Good question. I know of some FD's--I think all of the ones in metro Louisville--stay put until there's confirmed entrapment. I have several concerns about this.

    First, given the response time of EMS in some places (and the fact that FD's are usually much closer), why leave that pt in the vehicle until EMS can arrive and request fire? I certainly don't trust the complainant to let us know accurately whether or not there is entrapment, so EMS is the first agency on the scene qualified to make that determination.

    Second, these oft-ignorant complainants don't know smoke from steam. How long are we allowed to let a car sit and burn? What about haz-mat?

    If that ambulance is held up by bad weather or just getting loose from their previous call, we can still conduct a full extrication and administer 100% of what a BLS ambulance could do. If we don't roll, they sit there.

    And how does that look to the public, half a mile from your station? Right in front of your station? Do they think we just aren't coming? Don't they expect us to be there? Too many calls? Aren't we all burned out on BS fire alarms? It's part of the job.

    I don't like that situation. I want to roll. If we're not needed, we'll go home.
    I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.
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    Angry

    The reason why my fire department does not go to accidents is because we have a outdated out of touch with the modern world fire chief. Town council picks the fire chief and it lookes like the only way we can get a new fire chief is if the current one dies (come on MI) He says that "If we are needed there they will call us" I can not tell you how many times I have been driving our rescue truck to a spill call and get passed by the tow trucks going the other way with the cars that were in the accident.
    My department did 210 calls in 01, if we were go to all accidents with reported injuries it would add another dozen calls at the most.
    I will also say that pennsylvania has some of the most outdated regressive old school F*#@ed up fire departments in the country. There are no state training requirements, a WOPPING TWO FULL TIME INSTRUCTORS at Lewistown for a state with @4000 fire departments. You could get rid of 3/4 of the fire chiefs, 1/2 of the fire departments and 1/2 of the fire fighters and the state would be alot safer place to be.

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    We respond to accidents with injuries with an engine, but sometimes the guys on the heavy rescue wait until they're told they are needed. I disagree with this, as I'd rather get them on the road and NOT need them.

    Also, I've been told that Ohio law says an engine should go to ALL crashes, whether there's an injury or not, but we don't.

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    If my dept. is notified for an mva (during certain hours / days), we respond with two buses, an engine, heavy rescue, a fire-medic fly-car (when manned and in service), and fire police (when they respond).

    We can have an accident around the corner from the firehouse, and if we are not notified or know about it (walkin), we don't go.

    The large paid municipality which runs paid ambulances ("professional" - notice the quotes ) get mva's, and respond with two police cars, and maybe esb / esu (equivilant to a heavy rescue) if they assign themselves or it comes over as a trauma, pin, or overturn. FD? Yea, we'll get notified if it's a 'washdown' or speedy-dry thing.

    [ 01-04-2002: Message edited by: toneloc177 ]


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    Red face



    [ 01-04-2002: Message edited by: sgtdave2002 ]


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    We are only automatically dispatched on MVCs if there is a report of either entrapment or fire. Otherwise, we respond only at the request of PD or EMS. This is the way it has been as long as I can remember, and it has caused no problems that anyone knows of.

    I'm not arguing for or against the status quo, and I'm not offering any more reasoning behind it or rationale for it. I'm just contributing a data point to your survey.

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    The large paid municipality which runs paid ambulances ("professional" - notice the quotes ) get mva's, and respond with two police cars, and maybe esb / esu (equivilant to a heavy rescue) if they assign themselves or it comes over as a trauma, pin, or overturn. FD? Yea, we'll get notified if it's a 'washdown' or speedy-dry thing.

    Hey tone you gotta love NCPD (NOT) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    [quote]Originally posted by trumpeter75:

    Also, I've been told that Ohio law says an engine should go to ALL crashes, whether there's an injury or not, but we don't.



    Been a firefighter in Ohio since 1980. I am not aware of such a law, but perhaps it goes with the law that does designate the Fire Chief as the person in charge of any emergency. Our department does not respond an engine in favor of a multi-purpose truck that is over loaded and under pumped. A city north of us only sends the Fire Department on crashes outside of the city limits or with reported entrapments.

    IMHO, with the way cars are made and all of the potential hazards involved when you change the configuration of a vehicle through a collision, an engine and a rescue should be assigned to support the ambulance on ANY traffic crash. Things on a scene can change fast, and when the changes occur, you don't have time to wait for additional resources to respond.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    In my county, we run an engine and BLS unit on all MVAs with reported injury. If there's the possibility that rescue's needed, then the cavalry (truck, squad/rescue, EMS supervisor, battalion chief) comes along. Personally, when I'm on the ambo, I enjoy having the engine on scene. We get additional trained people to help with patient care, secure hazards, sweep glass, check for spills, etc, and we've got a big piece of steel blocking the roadway so the moron who some day decides that he's not going to go around the scene doesn't kill everyone as he plows on through. Again, just personal preference.

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    I work for a multi-agency comm center in the Chicago area. we have 7 fire departments we handle and most send an engine/ambulance response. One of the agencies uses a large response-closest engine,closest ALS,closest BLS,Battalion chief and a heavy rescue. The rescue will go cold unless it is a pin-in or the B/C requests them to run hot. The department I am a firefighter for will run a rescue,engine,ambulance and chief response even if it is a possible injury wreck. If it is a possible pin-in or sounds like an ejection we will have a medi-vac helicopter respond.

    [ 01-11-2002: Message edited by: PFD147 ]


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    Red face

    To those that responded, thank you.


    How do you convince people that all accidents, especially those with injuries should have some type of Fire Apparatus responding? I understand the Chief is in charge and may establish guidelines SOP's for what they want. If you send letters to your government officials indicating proper services are possible not being provided, who are they going to call about it? The old attitude is, if its not broke, don't fix it. I need help with this, because if someone in my family is in an auto accident, I want the cavalry to come, not wait 15 or 20 minutes for the reserves to show up after the ambulance and police arrive. Is it going to take a lawsuit to get someones attention.

    [ 01-15-2002: Message edited by: 8754 ]

    [ 01-15-2002: Message edited by: wjn48 ]


  13. #13
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    There are many issues which need to be addressed with this:

    1. How many accidents are in your first due area?
    2. Would the volunteers (I'm assuming you're volunteer) in this company be able to handle such an increase in the call volume?
    3. What about the additional wear & tear on the vehicles? In the end, will this end up costing the fire company, and the taxpayers, more than the limited services that the FD would provide are worth (most of which are already supplied by PD and EMS)?
    4. What is the current delay when EMS or PD advises that extrication is necessary?
    5. What is the liability of causing an additional hazard to the public of having another emergency vehicle on the road for the 4th accident of the day - none of which required FD response?
    6. Do you run on all accidents? Accidents w/ injuries? Accidents w/ unknown injuries? Pedestrian struck?

    Generally, I think that the FD should respond to accidents w/ injuries. However, there are many aspects of this decision that need to be addressed. Yes, all fire departments are Fire & Rescue (or should be). But, if EMS and PD are already providing all necessary services, then is FD response necessary? It depends on a lot.

    Stay Safe

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    Being on a Volunteer EMS Squad & Fire Department I have too views on this. #1 from the fire department side, since my town is First responder or EMT certified we SOMETIMES respond to MVA's if its in teh area and we hear it get dispatched chief doesnt care...cause they usually respond anyway to give the squad a hand. If its confirmed pin job PD notifies Dispatch and EMS's rescue goes in service. They usually roll it to some MVA's. But since PD arrives on scene first they update whether fire is needed or not. Now.. from my EMS view. I'm on the squad in the next town over that's Fire Department is capable of Extrication. Heres our little problem. We have a Brand new heavy rescue truck we just purchased and have only used it like 12 times outta 20 due to the fact the Fire dept race like lunatics to the extrication call and sometimes start cutting before we get there ever since they got Extrication Equipment they've been told DO NOT CUT until a ambulance arrives on scene. Prepare to cut whatever but DO NOT CUT. Now we've had incidents where an engine cut off an ambulance & our rescue truck just so they could get in and cut. They've also parked the engine right were the rig needed to be when the patient was removed so we could load and go not carry the patient 30-40ft over dirt & flowers on an island. But back to the question should an engine be dispatched. YES. if the accident is bad enough and PD advises it is bad. we have a couple firefighters on our squad so we know "smoke from steam" and we get so many mvas we know what we are dealing with most of the time. But hey if they have the manpower in your town and you wanna assist EMS sure go for it. By all means nowadays with Volunteer EMS being short handed we could use all the help we can get. I dont know how it is in your towns but we could use some extra help on some days.
    Andrew
    Firefighter/EMT
    New Jersey

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    Hey M

    What are the taxpayers paying for in the forum of Fire Protection? Don't we hear from some EMS personnel complaining that they wish the FD would respond to accidents? It would provide additional assistance at the scene. Also I do not believe its the PD responsibility to be providing Fire protection nor any other crash scene protection other then investigation, traffic flow and towing recovery. I know your in support of some type of response, but who cares how many more calls there would be, the more times you handle these calls the better you become when the more serous incidents happen. I just believe that if your family was involved in an accident, you would want as many people as possible to expedite this unfortunate incident. With that said I am a true believer that having 3 or 4 additional hands are better then 16 or 20 as we do have at times at a crash?s involving entrapment. Until people realize that we owe a full service Fire/Rescue to the community and not pick and choose, this problem will not go away. Remember I was involved in a crash with a dump truck and I was more then grateful for the fire departments being there, it just wasn?t ours.

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    My department responds to any MVA with injuries, entrapment, or spillage/leakage. FD in my county do all extrications...we have a severe problem with EMS having staffing to run a transport unit much less a heavy rescue. We are also cross-trained to provide patient care.

    Like stated before, FD needs to be on scene if there are injuries. If it was bad enough to hurt someone, it usually is gonna have something spewing out, especially with autos designed to "disintegrate" (Crumple zones) to expell energy.

    Just my $.02.
    Begin with the end in mind.

    Be safe out there!!

  17. #17
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    Our department responds (well, are supposed to) to all MVC's with injuries, any leaking fluids, or debris (major). I say supposed to because our PD has cancelled us or has advised dispatch (our 911 center dispatches us both) we are not needed on several calls where we should have responded.

    We have several members that are cross-trained in EMS which is a blessing in our area. Our EMS has problems getting a truck out of the building most of the time and we have to rely on the paid services to respond. With the time involved in this process, we provide patient care, extricate if needed, and do cleanup along with traffic control. FD in my county (Tazewell) do the extrications. The policy mentioned above also applies to the 16 other departments in the county (we provide service to our municipality only). Several other depts have some members that are crosstrained, and it has paid off on more occasions than I care to mention.

    It really is nice when all agencies can work hand in hand on this. As long as FD uses common sense responding, doesn't bring so many pieces of apparatus to the scene as not to clutter things up, I see no reason not to go. EMS usually appreciates the extra hands on scene and the PD likes not having to deal with traffic control. As far as losing membership due to responding to accidents, we do not have this problem....it usually boosts morale to run more often.

    [ 01-11-2002: Message edited by: TTFD16 ]

    Faith in God, Trust in Training.

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    I think there is also a question here about depts. who run Ems and fire together. At my vol., and career dpts. we do both, so "both" respond to p.i.'s. I feel sorry for the people who get just an EMS response. I remember somewhere in communications classes that dispatch info. rarely tells the whole story! And what does a 2 or 3 person squad(ambulance) do if they actually backboard this patient? Simply getting an average sized person out of a car on a board(correctly) can take 4 people, let alone if they happen to be the larger persons.

    One other thing I noticed while reading this post and its replies: Toneloc, you said professional in quotes, are you implying something? I could be wrong, and I apologize in advance if I am, but you sound like a volunteer who has a beef with a career dept. Last I checked we are all "professionals", it's just that some are fortunate enough to paid to do this job. Once again I apologize if that was not your intentions...

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    These are my views and only my views and in no way reflects the feelings of any other member of the company.

    With that said, I stand by what I have said to this point.

    [ 01-15-2002: Message edited by: wjn48 ]


  20. #20
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    We run on all MVA's with injuries, roll-over, more than one vehicle involved, etc. We are also the first to respond to most uncomfirmed MVA calls that come in late at night because an ambulance can be as much as 30 minutes away. Our typical response sends two engines unless someone is reported to be trapped or it is reported as a major. I suspect we are moving to sending a recue on all MVA calls in addition to the two engines.
    Gabriel
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    Nevada, Missouri
    1*

  21. #21
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    Trumpeter,
    As MetalMedic said, Ohio law does not contain anything which specifies what a department's response to crashes should be. It is up to the discretion of the individual agencies. That can get a bit confused when EMS and fire are separate agencies. In south west Ohio rescue is almost always provided by the FD. The last EMS rescue organization in the area (Hanover Twp., Butler Co.) went out of business & was replaced by fire based EMS about 4-5 years ago.

    All that aside, I'm a strong proponent of joint fire/EMS responses to crashes for all of the reasons listed:
      [*]More personnel to handle removing patients from the vehicle(s)[*]Personnel to handle vehicle stabilization, debris cleanup, fluids, & traffic control.[*]Another big vehicle to provide a barrier between the scene & traffic. (This also permits the ambulance to park beyond the crash so you're not taking the cot into traffic)[/list]Every department I've ever been on has done joint response, even if many of the personnel were single role. I even prefer having an engine or rescue respond if the PD wants EMS only.
    Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

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    The noted forum is no doubt directed at the Hershey Volunteer Fire Co., Hershey Pa. As the Chief of the Company, I would like to respond and hopefully enlighten the participants on this discussion on why we do what we do. While I do not claim that our way is the best way, it is the procedure that works well for us.

    The best way to do this is to answer some of the fine questions posted by PA Volunteer.

    While I do not have the number of accidents that occure in our Township per year, I can tell you that we are a tourist destination and there have been 24 hour periods where there are 15 to 20 accidents in the Township. Here are some things we look at.
    1. We have a very good relationship with the PD. They operate in zones which allows them to be on the scene rather quickly. They have the knowledge and ability to have us dispatched in the event fire is needed. They also have CSO (civilian service offices)that carry absorbal in the vehicle. The CSO are not Police but rather assist with dog complaints, traffic control, fluids etc.
    2. Our County dispatch Center has the freedom to dispatch the FD if the callers reports sounds as though FD is needed. (to the best of my knowledge, the majority of our dispatchers are involved in the fire/ems service and have good reactions to the callers reports) We have indeed been dispatched when a caller reports "smoke" that turns out to be the powder from the air bags or reported entrapment. The police have placed us in service as an honest mistake.
    3. We are very fortunate to have numerous Corps. in our Township that allows our members to leave for all calls. (In 2000 we ran 850 calls. In 2001 we dropped to 646. We like to think the positive drop is due to our continuous fire prevention and public awarenss campaigns) I am blessed to have this kind of support from the businesses. Due to this and other members working out of their homes or shift work it is not uncommon to have 10 - 14 GOOD firefighters answering calls during those tough hours of 8 am to 5 pm. We feel that running every accident could possibly affect our members leaving their places of employment. Let's face, these businesses have a company to run.
    4. Putting a piece of apparatus ($250,000 plus)on the road for all accidents is in our opinion an exposure. Going "HOT" could create a bigger problem than what we would be responding to.
    5. EMS was taken away from us 6 years ago. The Township Supervisors removed them and ran the organization for approximately 6 months before turning it over to the Penn State University Hospital. This is a for profit organization. At the present time, there are three EMT's and two nurses on our 65 member Company. We have a policy that does not allow patient care if our members are not EMT's. I know this could be a forum in itself but we feel that due to the lawsuit happy world, this relieves us of possible legal issues. If our EMT's do patient care, we document what was done on our fire report.

    As far as fluid control, clean up, I liked what occured when I ran in Baltimore County, MD. Towing operators were responsible. If they wanted to tow, they had to clean.

    We are proud to be 100% volunteer. We strive to have an officer in the Township at all times. This is done through our Duty Officer program. All officers are provided Nextels to have instant contact with each other. There are not more than a dozen times a year that an officer is not availble in the Township. The dedication of my officers is second to none in servicing the community.

    If you would like to learn more about our fine Company, please visit us at hersheyfire.org.

    Respectfully submitted,
    Patrick Leonard, Chief
    Hershey Volunteer Fire Company

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    On our department, the police usually arrive within 3 to 4 minutes of dispatch, and our squads within 5 minutes of dispatch. This doesn't mean that the engine won't respond if we are closer than the responding squad. Also, if our dispatch has information about entrapment, smoking cars, fuel spilled, etc, they automatically dispatch the engine and/or rescue truck.

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    I am on two fire depts. in my area, the one has fire and ems, and the other is just fire. Now the one with ems we run an ambulance, rescue truck, and a pumper on almost all calls. there has been a few times that the pumper didn't respond, manpower reasons since we are just a volunteer dept. now the other dept. we only get called if there is extrication needed, except if a ambulance is dispatched from a local fire dept. then we usually run for mutual aid.

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    Chief well stated

    While I respect what you have done for the department and in no way question your leadership nor your qualifications, it only takes one incident to throw this whole approach into a nightmare, but that's not for me to decide. I have a true belief right or wrong that Fire/Rescue Departments have an obligation to provide the best services available to the residents it protects and those traveling through it. I believe that the only thing missing from the service that are provide which I believe is the best the department offers are those expressed in my original posting. I posted my question for only the purpose of fact finding and nothing else and I will leave it at that. If for someone reason you or others felt I was attacking members or leaders of the Hershey Vol. Fire Department, my apologize, I was not. What I will not do is use this or any forum to embarrass someone regardless whom they are and certainly not you who has taken the department beyond anyone's expectation, plus the continued respected you receive from other Chiefs of other Departments along with community leaders. I would put this department up against any other department.

    If I wanted too, not to say I do, if have a problem with your leadership, I would do so in private and in person and not through this page regardless what others my say.

    As I stated on 1/12/02 These are my views and only my views, right or wrong, they are what they are.

    I will continue to ask questions both through this forum and in person regardless how little they maybe. I know it's possible my questions or answers maybe upsetting to some, but I will not be censored because of what I believe.

    Back onto the topic itself,

    I agree that taking away the support the department has always received from the business community, allowing employees to leave work for calls and in most cases WITH PAY, would be damaging, especially personnel responding to calls during daylight hours.

    I still believe at least certain highways within the response area for say 40MPH posted highways should have some type of fire department equipment responding when an accident with injuries are reported. At most 2 or 3 people.

    I do not believe its the EMS nor the PD responsibility to make decisions on behalf of the Fire Department. I know putting a piece of equipment on the street "hot" or even non-emergency heightens safety concerns, but I also know that if I was ever in an accident again and the result of it was being injured, I sure hope the fire department is coming, because like the last one, I didn't asked to be put in that situation and definitely wanted to be remove as safely and quickly as possible. This goes for those in my family, friends and those that I know.

    I appreciate your comments and want to thank you for responding with your views.

    [ 01-13-2002: Message edited by: wjn 48 ]


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