1. #1
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    Default Ambulance as part of the department

    My department is in the process of trying to operate an ambulance. We just took delivery of a Lifepak 12 defibulator and are installing a radio in the unit soon. The department has spent between $15K and $20K on this donated unit.

    Do you think an ambulance should be part of the same organization or should they be a separate organization.

    I believe they should be separate. I also believe that there should be an ambulance dispatched on every call.
    Another lifetime volunteer proud to serve my community.

  2. #2
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    Depends on the situation.

    If the ambulance is going to be housed in your station, I would strongly recommend that the fire department operate it. If a separate organization is going to operate it, I'd get it out of the station and let the other organization figure out what to do with it.

    If your department thinks the ambulance should be dispatched on every call (I assume you mean fire call?) it's sure a lot easier to make that policy when the fire department owns the ambulance, yes? Otherwise, you're at the mercy of the EMS director of the ambulance service, who may or may not see things your way.

    Does your department have a paid staff? Who provides ambulance service to your area now?
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  3. #3
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    Default Depends on the situation, i agree

    A majority of the fire departments around the area in Pennsylvania where I was born, run the ambulance. It makes it convient at times but more difficult, when you are tring to man the ambulance for a fire call. The department has members that do both, some that do just EMS and others that do just firefighting. They also have been doing it since the funeral homes gave it up in the late 60's.

    There are increase cost and expenses when operating an ambulance. Also why is the department wanting to operate an ambulance. I am like Silver City - who runs it now..

    As far as ambulance on every call - make is SOP for an ambulance to be dispatch on all calls.. Appearantly now you have another provide doing EMS and have mutual aid agreement with them.. Most ambulance services even volunteer don't mind standing by a fire.. Most departments have that in the SOP on structure fires to dispatch automatically an ambulance. Certain fire calls no unless there is a chance of dehydration and fatigue caused by hot weather.. Out of control brush and grass fires as an example...

    Make sure when setting up the unit that you follow all state and local laws governing the operation of an ambulance.. Will the ambulance be staff by paid, volunteers, or both.. What type of staffing will the crew consist of.. I take it with the purchase of the defibulator that you will have at least one paramedic on every call...

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by Silver City 4

    Does your department have a paid staff? Who provides ambulance service to your area now? [/B]
    There are 3 fire departments in our county, and 1 fire department in the next county, that have "first due" areas in our county. There are 3 E.M.S. agencies in our county. One operated by the southern department, 1 operated by the department we are dispatched with and one that is separate from the fire department. All are 100% volunteer.

    We each have our own budget, constitution, bylaws, S.O.G.s, officers, and apparatus. The two northern end departments and the separate E.M.S. agency are dispatched from the sheriff's office. The southern end department is dispatched from the town police office.

    The other departments that is dispatched with mine provides E.M.S. to our end of the county. My department provides E.M.S. first responder service in our district and part of the next one to the south.

    We don't have any EMT-P's, and no EMT-I's either. But, we do have 2 members that are finishing their EMT-I class. And we only have 4 other EMT-B's.
    Another lifetime volunteer proud to serve my community.

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    AS starters - get rid of the Lifepak 12 unless you plan to get paramedics and get an AED instead. Most states require a Paramedic to use a lifepak 12, but a First Responder can use a AED - automatic defibrilator.

    And other ambulance service can help out a lot.. Just make sure you have adquate man power to run it... You will need more than 6 EMT's to run the ambulance? Especially if everyone works the day shift? Also you will get burn out if there are only 6 of you taking calls? - What are the staff requirements for ambulances in your county? Who provides ALS in your community?

    Most departments that run BLS ambulance out of the fire departments have have at least 15 first responder - drivers, and at least a dozen or more EMT's. In the state of Pennsylvania - ambulance requires miniumun 2 personnel at least one trained at EMT with the driver at least first responder and CPR.. So check you state and local areas for the requirement?

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    The other departments we respond with, King William Fire & Rescue and Mattaponi Rescue (in county), both operate ALS ambulances. I begged and pleaded for an AED to put on our engine. We have one on the car that runs first responder calls.

    And staff requirements ? Our county doesn't have a clue about the emergency services business. The fire marshall is also the building inspector. We don't have any type of county emergency services coordinator. I believe the state requires one EMT and a driver to provide medical help and transport.

    I used to be an EMT-B and now am only a First Responder. I know what it is to be burnt out. I also know what the staffing problems are during daytime hours.

    The idea was presented to house an ambulance for King William F&R and their members that are close to us would operate it. That idea was shot down quickly.

    Thanks for all your insight and advice L_M and SC4. It is greatly appreciated.

    Arthur
    Another lifetime volunteer proud to serve my community.

  7. #7
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    why get rid of the lifepak 12? it has a built in AED.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
    IACOJ Attack

    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

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    Originally posted by RyanEMVFD
    why get rid of the lifepak 12? it has a built in AED.
    I believe that we could have bought 2 AEDs for the same money we spent on the Lifepak 12.

    At this point in time, there is no one that can use the Lifepak 12 to it's full potential. To me, this is wasted money.
    Another lifetime volunteer proud to serve my community.

  9. #9
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    true you could've bought two AEDs but when someone becomes a paramedic or a paramedic joins the dept then you're set.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
    IACOJ Attack

    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

  10. #10
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    We need N2DFire in this discussion. He's on a rescue squad in Ferrum, Va.

    I've been involved in a couple of volunteer ambulance service and a combo service, both in Oklahoma.

    In Oklahoma, you have to guaruntee coverage if you're going to operate a transport EMS service. Now, there are some services that "cross their fingers" and don't have assigned call--they just page a call out and hope enough qualified people show. But what most volunteer services due is have assigned crew members to each shift.

    The 15 member figure that Louisiana Medic shot you is about right--and that's for one ambulance. Another thing you need to consider is you're going to need a second ambulance to be placed in service when the first ambulance is having repairs made and whatnot or you'll need written mutual aid agreements with the surronding EMS services to cover you area.

    Also in Oklahoma, only Paramedics can use monitor-defibrillators...FR, Bs and Is can only use AEDs.

    You guys need to get a copy of the regulations from State EMS in Virginia and use that as your jumping off point. It's more complicated than just getting the equipment and declaring yourselves a transport service.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  11. #11
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    As a 22 yr member of a Fire & Rescue ALS
    service all the fire departments
    in our county do both fire & EMS with
    transport. It is the only way it has ever been for the last 25+ yrs.

    I think that you need to do whatever works
    best for your area. But remember you will find that a lot of the same people will want to do both. Having them together helps you to share some costs.

    This is not just a case of that has been the way it has always been. We have discussed splitting off the EMS from Fire for a lot of good reasons, but never quite enough to make it happen.
    Remember,

    If you don't respond.....who will

    IACOJ EMS Bureau Member
    IACOJ Member

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    O.K. Everybody calm down - I'm back. - Sheesh getting so a guy can't even take a little vacation anymore.

    Anyhow - on to more important matters. Here are my thoughts on the subject (in no particular order)

    Item 1
    Like Brian (Silver City 4) said - You guys need to get a copy of the regulations from State EMS in Virginia and use that as your jumping off point.

    You can read almost everything you need right from their web site http://www.vdh.state.va.us/oems but I'd still give them a call and talk to a live body. (I think your contact is going to be Tim Kimble Phone: 804-371-3500 Fax: 804-371-3543

    Otherwise talk to Dave Cullen - Enforcement & Compliance Manager

    Also - I think you're going to be under the Peninsulas EMS council (Website - http://www.peninsulas.vaems.org ) Might give them a call as well.

    Item 2
    The Lifepak 12 is a good solid unit. I would also have had a lot of other first choices for a BLS Only Agency, but it's what you got so roll with it. Also if you end up picking up any ALS M/A from adjoining Agencies - it could prove useful.

    Item 3
    Do you think an ambulance should be part of the same organization or should they be a separate organization.

    Depends - if you're thinking of creating a new separate organization with you're own people - that might not be a bad idea depending on Why you want them to be separate. Just have to weigh the benefit vs. deficits on that one and decide for yourself.

    If you're thinking about just "turning over" everything you have now to another existing agency - Why ?? What happens to the $$ your agency has already spent.


    Anyhow - food for thought for now. If you have any specific questions feel free to post them here or e-mail me directly.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    Reyalsnomed,

    If you want to keep people around to ride Fire Engines, don't put that ambulance in service!
    You Waste your time, YOUR LINE IS MINE!

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    Originally posted by CW7704
    Reyalsnomed,

    If you want to keep people around to ride Fire Engines, don't put that ambulance in service!
    My thoughts exactly. The EMS business has caused more political turmoil than it's worth. My thoughts were to remain BLS non-transport. Things went relatively smooth until a few started spending money on this ambulance.

    N2DFire,
    Thank you for sharing your knowlege of the subject. You seem to be respected on the site.

    As I look back on things in my department, I realize that it is the few craming this ambulance down the many throats. Still believe that will change at election time. (An entirely different subject)
    Another lifetime volunteer proud to serve my community.

  15. #15
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    Reyalsnomed,

    No problem - happy to help out.

    I just have 1 question. If you and others on your Dept. are not interested in "upgrading" to transport from non-transport why are there others so hot to do so ?

    Have you had problems / issues with the EMS agencies that provide your transport service or is this a political thing ?

    Also - more ideas to kick around.

    Idea 1
    If some folks are so fired up to have an Ambulance - why not have them get together and "spin off" a separate EMS Agency outside the Dept.

    Here in Franklin County - all Fire & EMS Agencies are separate but you have some folks (like myself) who do both. Works pretty good for us.

    Idea 2
    Have a separate division within the department may be an option. Have EMS members who want to "ride the back" and then allow you're other "FF Only" folks to be drivers.

    Idea 3
    You stated that they shot down the idea to house a unit for King William F&R and let their folks operate it. What if you try starting the transport unit in your station with your people who want to do EMS as an outpost of King William ? (I.E. your EMS people would be members of KWFR and operate the ambulance on their EMS Agency License)


    Anyhow - I know first hand how hard it is to keep an existing EMS Agency going with low membership - if you're department isn't 100% committed to starting into the transport arena (regardless of what path you take to get there) then the project simply isn't going to fly.

    If I can help anyhow - just let me know.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

  16. #16
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    The chief has his own agenda. If anyone has a different opinion or idea, they are ignored.

    None of the firefighters want to ride the "gut box".

    We tried housing a KWF&R unit a couple of years ago. The politics became more than my department wanted.

    We only have about 10 members that run calls now. Thank goodness for mutual aid.
    Another lifetime volunteer proud to serve my community.

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