1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post volunteering together

    Both me and my girlfriend volunteer. She is an emt and im a FF. We get along great except for the views of one thing. She feels its no place for the fire dept to respond to medical emergancies except for a lift. Me well I feel that FF can a least start CPR on a cardiac victim or begin oxygen to a victim ect. at least untill the emt's get there. Then she says face it you wouldnt want the emt's fighting house fires before the fire dept gets there. I dont even try to argue anymore, I just say its dept policies. Just want some views on this.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have to agree with you on this one. I am a volunteer firefighter and I am finishing an EMT course right now. I would prefer to see firefighters on the scene of medical emergencies providing basic life support until the ALS arrives. This gives the patient a fighting chance for survival in some instances. Just my opinion.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In my town, the ambulance bay is located on far side of town. My town is divided into 5 villages and there is no "Center of Town" (each village has a center), so it is not possible for the ambulance to be centrally located. It can take the ambulance 10 minutes or so to get to areas covered by my FD. Right now, the only time we are automatic medical aid is if the ambulance is out of town. We are in the process of getting a defib unit. Once we get all set with that, we will be rolling to any medical call on our side of town.

    I feel that the only time the FD shouldn't go is if they don't have anyone trained.

    However, my FD has a bunch of EMTs, including all of our LT's. One of our LT's is in the process of getting his Paramedic cert. We also have a bunch of MRT's. Many our EMTs are also paid medics on ambulance. Two of our guys work for AMR in Hartford and see alot of f*ed up stuff. There is no reason that these people shouldn't be responding to medical emergencies.

    I actually trust my life more with the medics from the two vol. FD's in town than I do our volunteer ambulance. I know the FD's are loaded with professional people who are fully trained and qualified to save lives and can make a timely response to an emergency.

  4. #4
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Let start this by saying that I mean no disrespect to EMS. EMS, like fire and police, performs an essential function and should command respect for doing this. We should all be working together, but we don't need to all be the same people.

    That said, I don't expect EMTs or Paramedics with the local EMS squad to show up on a fire scene, put on gear, strap on an SCBA, and go fight fire. Why should anyone expect me to show up at the scene of a medical emergency, pull on gloves, and start treating patients?? I didn't sign on for that, I spent four years in college running with a station that had a QRS unit (for the money, by the way) and absolutely hated that entire aspect of it, and, frankly, I'm not doing it again. Period. You can take away my trumpets, you can take away my pager, you can take away my membership if you want, but I'm not budging on this point.


    Why should I??? Fire and EMS are entirely different animals...they require different skills sets, different mentality, etc. We've all seen the benefits of specialization in many areas of life, including the fire service, so why do we now want to reverse that trend and create "jacks of all trades"? Simple...some cities found that they could ram EMS down their Fire Departments' throats in order to save money. This contributed to the concept of the "BLS engine" and, since a few of the more trendy departments did it, the fire service rolled over (as usual) and called it a "best practice". Justification for all this: fire can often be there faster. Real reason for that: EMS is more understaffed and underequipped than fire in some places. The real solution: get those cities to spring for adequate EMS coverage, along with adequately staffed fire stations, thereby restoring the balance that should have been there in the first place.

    That's my position, and I'm stickin' to it.

    [This message has been edited by Bob Snyder (edited May 05, 2000).]

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I'm on a small town fire department with the nearest ambulance a minimum of 7 minutes away. We have 1 EMT-P, 3 EMT-B, and 5 first responders that respond on EMS calls until the ambulance arrives. The ambulance service offers us training and CEUs in return for our responding. A lot of good has been done and some lives saved because of this. It's also GREAT PR. Out of our 200 calls/year I'm guessing at least 80% are medical.

  6. #6
    Chief Taylor
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Your whole problem would go away if you would get in the 90's and combine your fire and EMS together.

    This was a lesson learned back in the 60's. Hospitals discovered that there are many more fire stations strategically placed in communities offering/providing faster lifesaving EMS care.

    In The western US for the most part. Fire and EMS are one and the Same. Firefighters are also trainined EMS responders.

    Good Luck

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    my dept. like catches dept is 15 minutes from the nearest ambulance service so they came to us to get us to first respond for them. They trained us got the county medical director to sign off on us, as we are under him lic. supplied us with most of our supplies(except our AED and rescue equipment), gave us a truck(old ambulance) to carry our equipment in, and help us in everyway they can. Plus after we got our first responder lic. the state health department helped us to purchase our Jaws unit, then the AED. So yes I believe that fire should be there with EMS because you really can never have to much help and if you do then cancel the extras.

    Good Luck And Be Safe
    Craig Lambert
    Harmony Consolidated
    Volunteer Fire Department

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I don't know how you can say that EMS and Fire are two different animals. Fire based EMS in my opinion is the best. For many reasons. I work for a hospital based service. The Fire Depts. in our area are generally anti EMS, like that moron Snyder. They help us in codes and lift assists, but that's about it. It makes it hard sometimes, but we deal. Fire based services bring a whole different attitude. The "brotherhood" as we all like to call it, makes EMS all that better. EMS in most cases works with fire on many calls, including working fires and 10-55's (car accidents). Also EMS can bring extra revenue to the department. EMS and fire may be two different animals, but they are at least the same family, like wolves and dogs. It is sad when people are so closed minded that they can't see it. That is my opinion. Of course opinions are like a**holes everybody has on and they all stink.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Bob, you unfortunatly are a very narrow minded fellow.

    The fire service and EMS as different as they may be are cut and sewn from the same cloth. Maybe if try to examine the idea from a differenc frame of reference you will understand this better.

    I serve in a small volunteer fire department in a mostly rural region. Our local emergency medical service covers the same amount of geography as three volunteer fire companies. Almost 2 years ago the fire and EMS services in our county with the coperation of the Department of Public Safety put together a county wide AED program. All of our apparatus have basic life support equipment, but one also carries an AED. We get dispatched to assist the local EMS in times where they may be at the outer reaches of the service area to all incidents that deal with chest pain, shortness of breath, or loss of conc. Several times we have arrived on the secene first and have put the AED into use as an adjunt to basic life support. We administer oxygen and manitain the airway at the level of our training. Most are EMTs we have a few paramedics, and others are first responders or at least have CPR.

    My goodness man, can't you see that well all have the same prime objective, TO SAVE LIVES!

    If that does not convince you then think of one of your own. A fellow firefighter that goes down for what ever the reason, heart attack, electrocution, trauma etc. Wouldn't you like your crew to be able to assist you if the EMS crew had not arrived on scene yet? I certainly would.

    Yes there is a time and place for the fire service to be on dispatch with EMS. Train together, work together, save lives together. That's what our purpose is saving lives. It comes first in our duties as firefighters. Saving lives, extinguishment of fire and protection of property.

    Put yourself in this story. Your on a engine crew dispatched to a structure fire. You arrive on scene to find the house involved in heavy fire. The home owner lays on the lawn in severe respiratory distress from making his way out of the structure. Now I ask you where should you expend your initial efforts? If you have to think about it you are in the wrong business.

    Stay Alert & Stay Safe

  10. #10
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    > The Fire Depts. in our area are generally anti EMS, like that moron Snyder.

    But, I'm NOT "anti-EMS"...I'm "pro-specialization". As to the "moron" charge...I don't agree with the party line, so I must be an idiot, right?? Who's the narrow-minded one here?? We work with our local EMS squad. They certify us for CPR, first aid, etc. We invite them to do joint programs during fire prevention week. We liaison on policy and procedure. But we're still separate...we focus on what we do best, they focus on what they do best, and everybody gets better service as a result.

    > Of course opinions are like a**holes everybody has on and they all stink.

    Of course, that cuts both ways...YOU'RE out here posting an opinion too, Haligan...

    > My goodness man, can't you see that well all have the same prime objective, TO SAVE LIVES!

    I see that objective just fine, and we do it better with focused training and specialization, proper distribution of equipment relative to development and population, and allocation of personnel to the functions in which they are most effective and wish to concentrate. Why is it that practically every other industry in the country has learned the lesson that focused, specialized, well-managed processes and resources get the job done most efficiently and effectively, but we insist on going the other direction?

    If what I propose is so terrible, why is it, then, that EMS in large chunks of our county has been moving towards specialized, combination EMS squads (first/second crews are paid medics, augmented by volunteers) and AWAY FROM volunteer fire department-based squads BECAUSE specialized squads have found that they can cover their territories more effectively?? Even in the places where fire & EMS share quarters and share the names on the sides of the rigs, most have their own separate command structures, dispatching, etc. In effect, many of these fire-based EMS squads fuction like specialized EMS...personnel cross over if they wish, but being part of the EMS operation doesn't imply being part of he fire operation, and vice-versa. There's nothing wrong with being under the same umbrella, there's everything right about working together...but squeezing one into the other, especially if they aren't already together, is just a way of stop-gapping to save a few ill-advised pennies.

    > Our local emergency medical service covers the same amount of geography as three volunteer fire companies.

    If you don't feel adequately covered, then your municipalities need to spring for more effective EMS coverage. One of the biggest problems with the "fire can be there faster" argument is that it implicitly assumes that the distribution of EMS and Fire units remains constant and you need to work around it (logically, that's necessary for that argument...if you distribute EMS squads across the landscape like fire stations often are, then it's a tie). Our local EMS squad covers 9 municipalities that are covered by 12 different volunteer fire companies. They do it with 6-7 rigs staffed by 3-4 paid crews (augmented by volunteers) out of two well-placed stations, and they do it very well (this is my uncompensated, shameless plug in support of Southern Berks Regional EMS...keep up the good work, folks!). Just to our northwest, there's another specialized, regional EMS squad that's bigger and covers even more municipalities than ours. The answer lies in adequately distributing equipment and adequately staffing it...both EMS and Fire.

    I still say that the fire service has been sold a cost-cutting measure in the guise of a patient care issue. Adequate coverage by fully trained and equipped EMS squads solves the problem. Adding EMS services onto fire is a way of avoiding, or at least forestalling, what should be an obvious solution....EMS services, like fire services and every other kind of services you can think of, need to grow with demand. Consider this...What do we do when demand for EMS services continues to increase and we've then strained both EMS AND Fire services? We expand one or both, right? So, why not start now and avoid the crunch?

    I'm sure that the idea of Fire taking on EMS services is well-meant. I'm sure that it seems as though expanded funds for EMS or Fire services aren't forthcoming, so you've "got to play the hand you're dealt." I'm also sure that, at least subconciously, these decisions are partly driven by the need that many people in the emergency services have to feel "noble" in taking on whatever looks like it works for the common good at that moment. That's good, in some ways, but it can work against us in others. In the short run, it may even save lives on the margin. BUT...Letting the powers that be dictate, actively or passively, a stop-gap solution that works in their political favor in the short run just makes things worse down the road...When that combination of Fire and EMS you're talking about building is stretched to its limits, it'll end up taking an even larger inflow of resources (money, people, etc.) to upgrade and that will be even harder to pull off politically...That's my prediction, and I'm stickin' to it!

    [This message has been edited by Bob Snyder (edited May 09, 2000).]

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My brother, I am a FF and my girlfriend is an EMT and a Emergency Room Nurse. Before she became an EMT we had the same views as you and your girlfriend. However, when she saw what we did in terms of medical assistance, her view has totally changed. Now EMT's and FF's will never see eye to eye, but the EMT's must understand that we have the very first crack at saving a persons life because even before you are dispatched the "golden hour" is already running. We recently had an accident in which 3 people died but we did save 1 person and the Medi-Vac parameds and doctors at the hospital said if it wasn't for the FF's quick response before the EMT's arrived, that person would not have survived. In the perfect world, everyone would arrive on scene at the same time so the EMT's do their thing and the FF's concentrate on putting the "hot stuff on the wet stuff", but this is not a perfect world and everyone in the field of emergency response must respect the god given talents he has provided us. I hope this helps you my friend, good luck.

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My department used to have it's own ambulance service. It disbanded in 1987. That was basically due to lack of interest and a falling roster. We are lucky to have two ambulance companies, one in our borough and the other in the neighboring borough, responding to all of our calls. In the county, there are still a lot of fire compnies that have ambulance services.

    I believe that a first responder unit, in this case a fire unit, would be beneficial where applicable. In the City of Pittsburgh, this is common practice. An engine company is dispatched a couple of seconds before the med unit. Generally, the engine company can get to a location faster than a med unit that has to respond from another area of the city. The engine co. can do the intial assessment of the patient then forward the information to the incoming med unit. It works in the City.

    People's opinions are going to be different on this subject. If it works, then I say use it.

    David Gagetta
    Asst. Capt.
    Verona VFC

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I guess it depend on where you are from. Both departments, one in Colorado, and the one I am currently with here in Washington State, run Fire & EMS. In fact, I don't know of any department here that does NOT run both. (The City Fire Department runs both, but each apparatus has it's own crew, but they still cross over. My department runs with one crew of three.)I love it! I would not want to do just one.Fire/EMS is always changing, and some people have a hard time with that.
    Everyone has their own opinion, and I do not like to judge others by their views. I say whatever works in your department.
    Take care & be safe!

    Pull to the Right for Sirens & Lights!

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The answer is simple, TRAINING. In my town, the FD runs first responder with EMT's. This is mainly due to response times, we get there faster than the ambulance, period. We are held to the same training and standards as the EMT's on the ambulance. If a dept is running medical calls with personnel who have no formal training or standards, than I agree that is no place for that fire dept. As for EMS workers putting out fires, the answer is still the same, TRAINING. I am an EMS worker (EMT), I am also a FF (FSI). If an ambulance member wants to put out fires, and they are properly trained (FF-1) welcome aboard.

    Stay Safe.

    Lt. Robb Whipple FSI/EMT
    Ledyard CT FD

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