1. #1
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    Default should the fire dept be used as an ems first responder ?

    I have had ,over the past couple of years, tremendous success as an emt in the fire service and in the ems field. I run with 1 fire department and 2 ambulance services. however only one of those towns uses the fire dept. as a first responder. some of the guys at my house hate responding to medicals and on the same hand some really dont mind it. IN my town the cops are the first responders so the FD doesnt have this responsibility. just lookin for some input. SHOULD FIRE DEPTS BE RESPONDING TO MEDICALS as the R-1 or for a lift assist?

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    Not many fire departments in my area do any EMS, mostly due to the fact that there are EMS agencies and it would really not make sense. Guys in the FD that want to run EMS go and join the EMS agency and belong to both. Every once in a while, someone comes up with the idea that we should start running EMS calls as the EMS agency is busy...I hand them the application and say go right ahead and join there, you can answer all the calls you like.

    Now, IF your EMS agency is failing and your department, by majority, wants to start it, then go right ahead. It may work out, it may cause some problems, it may be good. That's up to YOUR department and what it wants.

    Good Luck.


    Editted: Remember, you can spell problEMS without EMS!
    "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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    Thumbs up Yes!

    YES!

    Fire Departments should be responding.Early CPR/AED and First Aid is a vitial link in the chain.Most EMS providers can use help loading.Fire departments who do not run first responder cases are not giving the tax payer the service they need.Fire calls are down and most fire department should be able to adapt to running first responder cases.My GOD it is 2005!If your not running EMS first responders and running only fires you will get fat and lazy between fires!
    Last edited by coldfront; 12-02-2005 at 09:47 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront
    YES!

    My GOD it is 2005!If your not running EMS first responders and running only fires you will get fat and lazy between fires!
    What about getting fat and lazy between medical calls?

    Seriously, I agree....First Responder oriented EMS is something the fire department should be involved in. I guess it all depends on your particular situation....maybe in some more suburban areas there are enough ambulances to ensure a prompt response, but in our area, which is very rural, it makes sense. There is only one ambulance located in the parish, and their response time can be up to 15-20 minutes in some cases, just because of the distance involved. Our response time is generally around 6-8 minutes, so most times we are there early enough to make a difference. The ambulance crew always appreciates the extra hands on scene, too.

    It is also good PR for the department.....the public (assuming your funding is tax-based), likes to feel that they are receiving appropriate services for the money they are laying out. Before we started running medical calls, Joe Citizen only saw us in his neighborhood when there was a fire....maybe a couple of years would go by before someone on his street had the misfortune of having a fire. But now, we're in various neighborhoods regularly....the public sees us out providing a service, and I think that ultimately it helps, especially when it's time to renew the fire protection tax.

    Another factor to consider is the experience level of firefighters who run medical calls. In our department, First Responder training and responding to medical emergencies is not a requirement for membership...most choose to do so, some would prefer not to, so they don't. I find in general that the guys who do respond to medical, just because they run 3-4 times as many calls as the non-medical personnel, are quicker to overcome their rookie jitters....they become more seasoned at responding, learn to drive with due caution, exercise better radio discipline, simply because they get more practice at it. So I think it's a good thing in that regards as well.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    I can't stand when a huge truck is blocking up a street because they are a first responder. Why send an entire fire truck with crew out to an EMS call. Now that trucks out of service if theres a real fire.

    I think they should either send out 1-2 people in an SUV vehicle or ya know if you can have the police respond.

    In Bloomfield, NJ where I volly as an EMT, our police respond WITH us. They are first responders and in some cases EMT's. Our chief wants his officers to be certified in EMS. The police already do EMS from 6pm-6am and we takeover at night. So they send a cop with us on 90% of the calls we go on anyway.

    Our FD never responds to EMS unless they are needed for extrication.

    In Belleville, NJ, their fire people are all EMT's. If their ambulance is unavailable, they send out a truck with a crew and then call us for mutual aid. It's really ridiculous to try and get down a street with their fire truck blocking up the road. It gets out of hand sometimes.

    It has its good benefits and its bad, depending on what your looking at
    Adam, EMT-B

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    Our volunteer dept runs EMS as first responders. We run our Ford F-450 Rescue Truck on all medicals and if anyone else responds its usually in their POV. I can't remember a time when we ran the engine on a medical call, unless it was a training drill night and we had a call come through.

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    Adam07003,

    We don't have a suburban. I see nothing wrong with sending a fire engine to an EMS run. Say for instance after the EMS run is over a fire run comes in. Wouldn't it be better to have a crew on the engine already vs. having to go back to the station and get another truck?

    As for blocking the street...sounds like there needs to be some better cooperation between both organizations. I try to leave the real estate in front of the house for the buggy. Is it possible all the time, no. Just buck up and work through it. Don't worry about the small stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam07003
    I can't stand when a huge truck is blocking up a street because they are a first responder.
    Are you afraid of the big bad firetruck !! The FD is usually the first on the scene-Let's remember patient care as a priority-not what big bad trucks first responders ride in
    NATRGBH83

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexfd5
    I see nothing wrong with sending a fire engine to an EMS run. Say for instance after the EMS run is over a fire run comes in. Wouldn't it be better to have a crew on the engine already vs. having to go back to the station and get another truck?
    OK, I'll play devil's advocate. What happens when the fire call comes in while you're still assigned to the EMS run, the ambulance has not yet arrived, and you can't leave because of that pesky thing called patient abondonment?

    My VFD runs a Suburban with one or two people on it for EMS calls. If we happen to be out on the engine and catch an EMS call, we'll take the engine, but if the Suburban is staffed/available, it will always act as the primary vehicle.

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    Fire based EMS / 1st. Responders are a sign of the time through out the U.S.

    80% of the responses I make daily as a Career Firefighter are EMS Runs. - We handle which ever type of emergency comes in {Fire or EMS} and we provide the transport. We also back-up surrounding districts as a 1st. Responder Engine or Ladder Company if dispatched. This way we are still prepared to handle an emergency {Fire Side} should a higher priorty call be dispatched as we clear the medical call. Yes this does happen.

    FD 1st. Response is a good thing. Remember we provide an emergency service to our citizens either Fire or EMS and are called upon many many times to provide for the community. People know when they call 9-1-1 somebody will show up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by osfd100
    I have had ,over the past couple of years, tremendous success as an emt in the fire service and in the ems field. I run with 1 fire department and 2 ambulance services. however only one of those towns uses the fire dept. as a first responder. some of the guys at my house hate responding to medicals and on the same hand some really dont mind it. IN my town the cops are the first responders so the FD doesnt have this responsibility. just lookin for some input. SHOULD FIRE DEPTS BE RESPONDING TO MEDICALS as the R-1 or for a lift assist?
    In a word...ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!!!

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    If your fire department can provide a quicker response time on an EMS calls what reason would you have not to provide a first response service.

    Quote Originally Posted by coldfront
    YES!

    Fire Departments should be responding.Early CPR/AED and First Aid is a vitial link in the chain.Most EMS providers can use help loading.Fire departments who do not run first responder cases are not giving the tax payer the service they need.Fire calls are down and most fire department should be able to adapt to running first responder cases.My GOD it is 2005!If your not running EMS first responders and running only fires you will get fat and lazy between fires!
    Clodfront’s statements can be easily backed up.

    To quote Steve Martin from the movie Roxanne “we want people to think it is a good idea to call the fire department.” If you local police is a better choice than the fire service then by all means stay out of their way. To run EMS you should train and keep up on those skills as well so you do not go out and hurt someone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam07003
    I can't stand when a huge truck is blocking up a street because they are a first responder. Why send an entire fire truck with crew out to an EMS call. Now that trucks out of service if theres a real fire.
    Wow what a stupid quote, I hung this one up at the station on the wall of shame. If I remember correctly or number one mission is to protect and save life so to say a medical emergency is not a real emergency if the fire world is insane. The people who have earned the right to run the department should decide what the proper vehicle is to respond on a medical call. As for blocking a road proper unit placement should not interfere with other emergency equipment.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187
    OK, I'll play devil's advocate. What happens when the fire call comes in while you're still assigned to the EMS run, the ambulance has not yet arrived, and you can't leave because of that pesky thing called patient abondonment?

    My VFD runs a Suburban with one or two people on it for EMS calls. If we happen to be out on the engine and catch an EMS call, we'll take the engine, but if the Suburban is staffed/available, it will always act as the primary vehicle.
    I'll advocate your devil, BoxAlarm....

    Have another company respond to the fire call while you are committed to the medical!

    Once the bone box arrives, and if they have the same or higher level of training as you, you transfer the information you have gotten, ie., medical history, med list, vitals signs, etc. and patient care to them, then respond to the fire call as the second due company.

    I was in this situation five years ago. We were dispatched to a motor vehicle accident with injuries in our local Home Depot's parking lot when the alarm was recieved for a fire alarm activation at a garden style condominium complexjust 100 yards away. We had minor injuries at the accident and the personnel to handle the call (no extrication involved) so I had the Rescue respond on the alarm activation (they were coming from HQ). The Engine from HQ became the first due unit...on their arrival, they transmitted a working fire in the storage area of one of the two buildings. The ambulance had just left the scene of the MVA, we were second due, laid a line to the One's and still saw plenty of fire!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Thanks for the reply, Gonzo.

    I work for a busy career department, so missing a fire response because we're tied up on a medical is nothing new. Irritating, yes, but nothing new.

    As for my volly house, we have portions of our district that are 12 minutes from the station. As chief, I have a hard time justifying my only pumper being that far away from where most of our action is, so that's why we respond the Suburban.

    My part time job working for a fire-service journal has me traveling all over the place, so I see all sides of this. I just wanted to throw a little discussion out there for everyone!

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    My volunteer department has a utility truck and an air truck that we normally use for medical assist calls.Note,I said normally
    Sometimes we have had to run an engine to an M/A call because that is what we had out on the road nearby for training when the tones dropped.With the exception of AEDs(and they are forthcoming)all of our vehicles are used to go on EMS calls whether Mercy Regional is on the way or too busy so they lateralled it to us to take until transport comes available.
    We don't get to pick and choose what times the calls come in and we don't always have the luxury of using U-31 or E-35 to go to the local dialysis center to help with a possible Code 99.

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    My department just got our squad last year. Prior to that we would be EMS first response for the paid dept. in the next town. It wasn't unusual for the paid dept. to beat us by the time we had a truck roll. Since we got our squad we run things a little differently than we used to. If we have EMT's en route we will send the squad with just one person on board.

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    the only medical calls that my fire dept would respond to would be lift assists that the ambulance agency would need. most of the attendants are old and are for the most part a method of transport not treatment. THe cops do the first responder work and we would only be called like i said earlier for a lift assist of if the cops were unavailable!

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    Around here in rural BC we are all volley halls.

    Any dept without an EMS Station in town now does FR. The dept located 500M down the street from the EMS Station does not.

    Most of the valid points have been mentioned, but my take on this issue is:

    1. Call volume helps keep everyone sharp (as DmLeblanc mentioned).
    2. Staying sharp due to all the public calls, makes us sharper when one of our own goes down.
    3. Being sharp and effective in any of those situations generally results in a higher save rate, and reduced suffering for the victims.
    4. A higher safe and comfort rate for the victims means they stay satisfied with your service.
    5. A population who is satisfied with your service is more likely to support purchases, budget increases, and eventually even F/T staff due to all the runs you are getting.

    So you see, it's really all business.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Cool I agree

    It is a good Idea About 85% of our runs are EMT runs. Usally our closest ambulance is twenty to thirty minuits away. So the quicker we get there the better. Wekk There's my two cents.
    Trapper Jr.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KEN7606


    Wow what a stupid quote, I hung this one up at the station on the wall of shame. If I remember correctly or number one mission is to protect and save life so to say a medical emergency is not a real emergency if the fire world is insane. The people who have earned the right to run the department should decide what the proper vehicle is to respond on a medical call. As for blocking a road proper unit placement should not interfere with other emergency equipment.
    Didn't finish my entire thought... im talking bout the sprained wrist type of calls... now what I say is kinda going by what I deal with... i forget that MOST of these departments are volly and have long response times as it is... where I ride in NJ, our EMS is at the building 24/7. Our fire is paid. THe neighboring town is paid fire/ems. So our response time to anything is less then 5 minutes in town, and out of town, depending on how far 5-10 minutes.

    So basically, the MA ambulance is still getting to the next town over faster then most volly agencies around us, because of the high standards we are using in our town.

    So when I say i hate seeing a fire truck outside, its when the calls for a general sick woman who has the flu or the patient whos got a sprained wrist.

    Our town does a high volume of EMS calls and damn talk about fire calls, the fire guys are constantly out on false alarms and what not.

    I mean im coming from one small case here, just the way things are done around me. We all hate seeing a fire truck because of all the circumstances leading up to the fire truck being on scene. Its nice that the FD that shows up are EMT's but most of the time, the calls we are MA for arnt that serious, and thats whats giving me/them that "yawn" feeling.
    Last edited by Adam07003; 12-05-2005 at 08:48 AM.
    Adam, EMT-B

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    to answer your question, maybe.

    things to consider:

    can the FD get on scene before the ambulance?

    does the FD respond from home? does the ambulance respond from home? or does either agency have in house crews?

    can you get EMS trained Firefighter personnel on scene before the ambulance arrives? warm bodies are nice, but you need Certified first responders/ EMTs/Paramedics to be treating the patient.

    CALL VOLUME. if you add EMS first response to your fire service, expect your call volume to double, triple or more. with your manpower, can you handle that increase? would you be able to provide that service while operating the same way that you have been operating for years?

    where is the ambulance coming from? is it coming from your town? or is it coming from two towns over? what is their average response?

    Personally, I think having two or more FF's acting as first responders in a department flycar is a total waste of resources. just get an ambulance. even if it is just a BLS ambulance, it can transport YOUR taxpayers, and you can get help from an ALS flycar.

    if you want a first response unit, have local PD do it. in most volunteer covered areas, they are usually closer, or if not closer, because they are already on the road, they will have quicker response times. I was on a combination department that sent 3 FF/PMs on every EMS call, and had a 2 man ALS private ambulance responding from another town to transport. so you would have these three highly trained medics starting interventions, but they were still waiting for the ambulance. IMO, a waste of resources.

    one thing I think needs to stop is for FD units stop band aiding the problem of lack of EMS units by first responding. if you are waiting 20-40 minutes for a rig, maybe you need to get an ambulance to cover your town?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Default fd responding to medicals

    In my department we have an ambulance company that responds. During the day it is paid staff to cover the town. It is EMS only.If you want to start sending fire apparatus to EMS calls then you have to staff it. In order to accomplish this it means putting a staff on all the time. We have the luxury of having an ambulance company in our department. I respond with one of our rescues to help out with their staffing issues. Sending fire apparatus to a medical can be difficult if your department is 100% volunteer like mine. Response time is a major issue that needs to be addressed. The fire service is going through a major change. It is alot busier with EMS than fire calls. Our ambulance runs alot more calls than the FD. We can go quite a few days without a fire call but the ambulance will be cranking out calls all the time. The other thing that has increased the amount of EMS calls in the fire service is the development of 55 and older housing developments. The main thing to remember is that we provide a service to the public that has to be maintained at very efficient level.

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    I think there are good/bad things and it realy all depends on how your staffed like mentioned above.

    In my old town, paid fire, never responds to EMS. Volly EMT's, we are always at the building. Our POLICE respond to every call first so that is probably why we DONT send a fire truck if we are not available.

    The town over, paid everything. They send a fire truck if their ambulance is unavailable, their firefighter are EMT's. I've never seen their police at the scene for EMS though.

    So thats the difference, our police act as our first resopnders, but the town over doesnt do that. It all varies i suppose on how your town does EMS. I know most towns just have an amb. crew respond from home, same for fire, so sending a fire truck would be pointless cause they'd hafta find a fire crew, then find another ambulance crew, and its too many people responding all at same time, to dangerous.
    Adam, EMT-B

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    I believe in fire depts running first responder programs. our dept is very tight knit with the ems service in our area, we actually paid to have our station expanded so the ems company could station an ambulance in that district. our fire dept responds to mainly mva's and als calls, but their is one apartment comples in the area that is rather rough. it does not matter what the call is for, after midnight, everyone goes, even if its for a stubbed toe ( safety in numbers )
    our combination efforts have paid off as well.
    i write this in two ways. i work full time for this ems company as a 911 operator, and i volunteer for the fire dept.
    Everyone gets along, weve never had any problems.
    And we help each other grow and improve.
    the fire dept this year, recieved the first responder of the year award at the ems conference in austin. picked #1 out of all texas fire depts. with first responder programs.
    and that goes hand in hand with the ems company recieving the 2005 gold standard award, top ems provider of the year.
    if everyone gets along, and strives to improve, nothing but good will come of it.

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    None of the 11 FDs run FRs in my area. The two FR programs in my area are stand alone associations. On the upside, we can snd do cross FD boundaries without problems. On the downside is we are always juggling manpower and funding. Three members of my FD are in the FR group. Ambulances are located in ten minutes from our eastern and western borders. Takes them tweny to fifty minutes for them to reach the extreme ends of our district. Last night major accident, first ambulance took just over fifteen minutes to reach us, the next two were ten and twenty minutes behind the first. Fire dept was onscene five minutes after the FRs. They are not allowed to respond unless there is a fire protential. (most of this is politics, not by the FDs, but our elective officials)
    "My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea." - Tommy Douglas 1961.

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