1. #1
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    Question Engine Co. Response Question

    I need to find out if anyone has recently changed to responding to medical calls with an Engine versus taking something smaller. We have always responded two Firefighters in a smaller "Rescue" to medical aid calls, but are looking at making the move to Engine response for all calls. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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    Default funny you should ask

    you know funny you bring this up, me and a fellow brother were talking about this in our dept yesterday. we currently run an engine to a call, but there is really no reason for us to bring a truck of that size. we talked about maybe running a brush unit. its small, easy to get around, and we usually dont need to have the extra people their. the ones that are not medically trained just stand around outside.

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    We just approved the purchase of a new "utility" vehicle to replace the old one so that we don't have to run the engine on medical calls. Why put the wear and tear on a $250K piece of apparatus when you can run a $40K piece.

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    In my opinion, you need to look at your call volume and such. Will the engine be tied up on a medical call and not able to respond to a fire call? Does that occur often? Do you have the manpower to send 2 guys in a utility/rescue vehicle and still man an engine?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Depending on the nature of the call and what floor the Pt is on, we send 1 med unit. Now if the nature of the call is something like chest pain, broken bones, Decrease in LOC, things along those lines, and if the PT is on the 2nd floor or higher, then and Engine Co will respond with the med unit.

    We house 2 med units, 2 Engines, 1 Rescue and 1 ladder.

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    The paid departments around here all respond an engine with a crew of 3 or 4 (depending on the department) and either a rescue ambulance (RA) or non-transport squad with a crew of 2 to all medical calls.

    Our department (volunteer) responds a little differently. During weekdays, we generally respond just the RA which is staffed by our paid Fire Marshal and paid Fire Inspector, and everyone else who's available responds in POVs. During nights and weekends, one FF takes the RA home with them and another takes the utility truck (Ford F-350), and they both respond to any medical calls (and any other calls for that matter) while everyone else responds again in POVs. We generally only roll an engine on a medical call if there's already people at the station to staff if (drill nights, during station maintenance, etc.).
    Chris Gaylord
    Emergency Planner / Fire Captain, UC Santa Cruz FD

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    A combination department out my way who always has a 4 man crew in house now runs an engine to all ems calls. As far as I know, the reason behind this is when their clearing the EMS run and a fire call comes in they are not delayed with responding back to the station to pick up the other truck.

    Makes sense to me!
    Chris Shields
    Lieutenant / EMT
    Haz-Mat Technician
    East Syracuse Fire Dept
    Onondaga County, NY

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    Default When personnel are limited, Engine is the way to go.

    My department is a combo. department with a single station. The career staff responds to all incidents in the engine. This is so that we are never "in the wrong truck" while out in the district.

    In the combo. department where I first began, career staffing was a single driver for each station. The central station had a small F-series rescue and a Class A pumper. For running errands, handling MVAs and small fires, the rescue was usually used. More than once, that resulted in personnel having to respond back to the station to pick up the pumper to respond to a structure fire.

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    As a couple of guys already alluded to, it depends on your manpower. If sending 2 out on EMS calls will only leave 2 back in house with the engine, then just send the engine. We used to run a light duty rescue in place of the engine when there was the manpower, then we got too busy to keep that up since we have 3 stations and were staffing an engine in each, plus 2-3 ambulance crews. Ideally, running something that costs less to replace would be better. Less wear, fuel, etc, on a pickup or SUV chassis vehicle than with an engine. And think about the really bad: if it gets in a wreck, what are you out? If you wreck an engine, bad things. Wreck a first responder vehicle, not good bad any means, but easier and cheaper to fix than an engine.

    But again, the main consideration is manpower. If you don't have 6 guys to staff both an engine and first responder, send the engine. Like so many others, we've dropped fires while on the road.

    - Brian

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    Im also on a combo dept and as the career firefighter we run an engine also because of the fact if another call come in we have the right equipment, plus to equip both trucks with the proper medical equip. it would be a costly. Firefighter are to be in BIG RED FIRE TRUCKS. Think of it this way you are on your way back from an ems run and you see a house on fire and not yet dispatched and you are in a regular pick up what are you going to do pee on the fire and hope it goes out. we can can only hope that the vols to be on station to roll an engine. they don't come to the station for the ems calls.
    Last edited by CFDENGINE512; 09-16-2004 at 09:34 AM.

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    Well you can't quite go with the FFs belong in the big red truck and the "whatifs". There's tons of what if's: what if you send the only staffed engine to an EMS call (cardiac, MVC no entrapment, etc), the ambulance hasn't gotten there yet to transfer care to, and there's a fire on the other side of town? The engine is just as delayed getting to the fire as it would be if you had to go back to the station.

    Driving past a fire? That's why a lot of departments are buying the medium duty (F350-550 chassis) trucks, setup like a light rescue but having a small pump, 250gal tank, and some if they can afford it, CAFS for the extra knockdown power. Just for the reason of what if we drive by something on the way to/from another call, EMS call, training, preplanning, etc. That way something can be started while the engine is on it's way with the calvary.

    But rehashing my other comment, it is basically a manpower issue. If you only have 4, staff the engine. If you have 6 in house at all times, send 2 on a light duty and leave the other 4 on the engine to do what it was built for: sit and look pretty until the fire drops. If you only have 4, as CFD said, bring your toys with you, don't short staff anything.

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    Personally I like running medicals with a fully staffed engine co. Two FF can get it done but 3 or 4 is so much nicer, 1 to do the documentation / run the scene (Co officer), a lead pt person, a helper (get me some vitals, set up the O2 etc) and if you are lucky enought to run 4 you have a gofor (we need the back board, can you look for the pts meds), CPR person, extrication person etc. Sure on minor medicals you've got a couple of guys standing around but that what they would be doing back at the station anyway. As far as mileage and wear and tear on the engine, do you really think buying a 40-60,000 EMS rig is cheaper?

    I did work for a department that generally staffed 6 people per day, 4 on the first out engine and 2 on the second out. We were considering getting a 1 ton set up as a light rescue to run a second non fire call while the engine was out and to provide some "truck" work at fires or to be the RIT but we never got it.

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    I will chime in here for what it is worth, we have 2 EMT's on duty from 8-4 7 days a week and people responding from home use the ALS engine to back then up vs the other medic unit.
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    When I started in '83, we had 2 paid FF's on a medic unit and 2 (with volunteer back-up) on the engine. In the late '80s, we got rid of the medic unit and put all 4 paid FF's on the engine to handle both fire and EMS. Works fine here, but we have reliable mutual aid for fire and ambulance service from the county. May not work as well for other areas.

    Dave

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    it sounds like a mini-pumper with two guys on it or possibly more might work the best. It doesn't cost as much, isn't as big as a full size engine and if you drive by a fire you got enough to start with on this pumper. Just an idea but KME has some good ones to look at.
    Bucks County, PA.

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    At my department if there's one paid FF/FR working he/she will respond to all EMS calls in our departments Rescue/Service truck. If 2 FF/FRs are working a shift, say a fulltimer and a parttimer, the fulltime FF will roll the Rescue truck to all medicals while the partimer, depending on the type of call will either remain at the station in case of another call or respond in the Brush/backup EMS truck. Calls such as difficulty breathing, unresponsive, chest pains, etc would get both paid people in both trucks. Other calls, would get just the First responder in the Rescue. Volunteers would respond from home. This keeps us from having to roll the engines to calls and if both FFs are out on a call and a second call comes in one can break away to handle it. It happend this week when we were enroute to a pass out/possible heart attack. We arrived on scene to find that it wasn't a heart attack but a fainting and got called for a broken nose on the same street so the FF/FR in the Brush truck broke away and handled that call. The system works well for us.

    Our brush/backup EMS truck->
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    This is our Rescue/Service truck. It is loaded down with SCBA, Hurst Tools, EMS gear and other gear and rolls on every call. But it is a gas hog and spends as much time at the gas station as it does at the fire station.
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    We use our engine and ladder companies as ems first responders. All members hired after 1985 are required to maintain their status as EMT basics as a condition of employment. We run a tiered ems system, meaning that based on caller inforation you could get anything from a private ambulance to an egine or ladder along with a paramedic unit. As a department we respond to approximately 100,000 annual alarms, about 70 percent of which is ems. We also contract with 4 private ambulance companies for both bls first response, and all of our bls transports. The department does no bls transporting, we do however provide all als care and transport. Not to confuse anyone, the private companies answer additional calls that we triage off to them, I don't know how many annual alarms that amounts to. We as a department prefer to keep our companies intact, and able to respond in whole to a fire or other type run, even if we are on a previous ems run.

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    Originally posted by jasper45
    We use our engine and ladder companies as ems first responders. All members hired after 1985 are required to maintain their status as EMT basics as a condition of employment. We run a tiered ems system, meaning that based on caller inforation you could get anything from a private ambulance to an egine or ladder along with a paramedic unit. As a department we respond to approximately 100,000 annual alarms, about 70 percent of which is ems. We also contract with 4 private ambulance companies for both bls first response, and all of our bls transports. The department does no bls transporting, we do however provide all als care and transport. Not to confuse anyone, the private companies answer additional calls that we triage off to them, I don't know how many annual alarms that amounts to. We as a department prefer to keep our companies intact, and able to respond in whole to a fire or other type run, even if we are on a previous ems run.
    Sounds REAL close to our system. We run a two tiered, all ALS EMS system. FD runs ALS engines, trucks, squads (heavy rescue) and medic units (either "Johnny and Roys" or ambulances). This is backed up by ALS ambulances which are supplied by the county through a private contractor (AMR today, Paramedics Plus Oct.1). An FD unit and ambulance are dispatched on every 911 call, ALS or BLS. The only time FD transports is if the county has no ambulances available and the patient is critical.

    Dave

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