We dont really have a two-tier system here, but the relationship between the FD and EMS in our county, at least in my opinion and on the eastern side of my county is a close one. There are 5 Volunteer Fire departments and EMS is run by the county system. Our one EMS station is repsonsible for the Eastern side of the county as is this one partocular fire department. I am on this Fire Department and repsond as a volunteer when I am not repsonding as a Paramedic with my county EMS unit. Gotta love the dispacth as the city dispatch does not often communicate with the county dispatch. City dispatches the FD and County dispatches EMS.
Well I heard that the FD was running on a call for Carbon Monoxide at a home. I thought it was necessary for us to go. Being told at one time that EMS should go to any fire alarm, a CO alarm being similar in nature; I asked my partner, which I shouldnt have to if we could go on the call. I know being a FF I love wearing my bunker gear, its there for my protection and I certainly use it when necessary, But it is used for abnormal sotuations, so then why wouldnt an EMS unit go for something like a CO alarm. now I am getting told by my superiors, we dont need to roll on a alrms anymore, just when there is an actual situation - like a fire. So I dont know, It seems like nobody is really communicating. My Fire Chief indicate she would like an Ambulance hear. Some of my superiors would like us to run, but then others dont and then if I am lucky while working EMS, we can actually get the two dispatch systems to work. This is why I wonder if Fire/Rescue would be better because then I assume FR agencies roll an Engine and a Rescue together. I am just bewildered and hope that someone shows up when I am fighting a structure fire.
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01-15-2006, 10:36 PM #1
Why I think FIRE/Rescue is necessary
01-16-2006, 12:02 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2002
- Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
I think you've just made another good case for supporting Fire Based EMS Services. ALL Emergency Services, Except the Cops, belong in ONE organization, under ONE Chief. I certainly have no problem with the Cops, but their work is different enough to have them at some distance, organization wise.Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
In memory of
Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006
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01-16-2006, 02:03 AM #3
Originally Posted by ems18909
- Join Date
- May 2005
Most of the EMS crews are FF's -so they can don thier gear and fight fire or man other apparatus such as Tenders.
The Engine will run on commerical and residential fire alarms with no EMS response. CO alarms get an engine and ambulance. Depending on the update the engine may cancel the box or vise versa.
Again, this is all subject to your departments manpower/needs/etc.. so this type of system is not needed or feasible.
The county system (the part we cover) has about 10 stations and all have ambulances but 2. One station is ambulance only - no fire apparatus.
The city sends an engine on all EMS calls, they may send thier ambulance(dual medic) based on the nature of the call. They use a private company transport BLS calls.Warm Regards,
01-16-2006, 05:23 AM #4
I was attmepting to make a point that yes more than likely there would not be any need for the EMS unit but in urban scenerios or any scenerio that an engine would role to a CO alarm, wouldnt you want a rescue unit/ambulance there? God Bless those miner's in the Northern part of the country; we know how they perished. Provided FF's utilize PPE at hand, but at the same token, why wouldn't we send an EMS unit. We have all heard about using our resources early, and if it is nothing, we just cancel and return to the station, even as far as the vol. dept goes, everyone gets paid and Career people (in my case EMS) We are on the clock for 24 hour, so why not go.
I just feel that had we been F/R this would not have even been a situation, but a regular call. The Vol. Fire Dept here is FF1/First Responder.
So even a BLS unit (which we have ALS only) would have been better, for both firefighter and also potential pt. There were no pt's on this run, but again all the issues I had prior to going on this call, wouldnt have been issues if the services were combined
And while I am thinking about. If something like even a Fire Alamr or in this case a CO alarm is going off in my house, faulty or not, I would like to know that everyone who needs to repsond is coming. If the service is not willing to respond to like calls, Are they now going to stop running on Alarms all together (which has happened) and the FD has to call because the alarm is a heavy-smoke showing ro actual fire; and I know that Fire/EMs combined departments would more than liely not even have that situation
Last edited by ems18909; 01-16-2006 at 05:31 AM. Reason: Adding another point
01-16-2006, 06:34 AM #5
Originally Posted by ems18909
- Join Date
- May 2005
If dispatch has not received any 911 calls in addition chances are it is a false alarm - in fact anytime there has been a working structure fire the homeowner or neighbors tend to call it in before the alarm company calls.
With fire alarm sounding we dispatch a single engine for residential or 2 for commercial - no ambulance for either - if for some reason it was a working fire we will get a full assignment which includes an ambulance anyway. If it is false why have 2 apparatus runing lights and sirens - Let me say that dispatch contacts the home owner/business right away and usually cancels the response even before the engine leaves the bay.
With a CO alarm the ambulance goes, however, if all the occupants have evacuated and nobody is complaining of any symptoms - sometimes the engine will cancel the ambulance(all our engines are ALS). If for some reason the ambulance is needed it is re-dispatched and the captain will have to take responibility for the call to cancel the ambulance if any issues arise.Warm Regards,
01-16-2006, 02:56 PM #6
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
It sounds like improved communication between the agencies would help to solve the problems you are encouraging. In my expereince, a seperate fire and EMS agency arrangement often works best, at least in the communties I have served. Fire and EMS often recruit two different types of people, and the organizations have different objectives, funding and training needs. I think this is even more true when working in a setting where both agencies are either all volunteer or one is volunteer and one is paid as compared to a situation where both agencies are fully career.
That being said, I am sure that things can be worked out. In my current situation I am on a combo department and the parish (county for the rest of the world) EMS service houses a career staffed Medic Unit at our Central Station (which is where our 1-2 paid firefighters are assigned). We have an agreement with the EMS service that in exchange for housing thier staff, when a fire (structure, auto or brush) call comes in, the Medic unit goes out of service and one of the medics drives one of our rigs to the fire. The other medic drives the rig to the fire. If an another EMS call comes in while at the incident or there is a patient at the incident that requires care, and we have staff to replace that medic who is functioning as a pump operator, the medic unit can go back into service and respond. It's an arrangement that has worked out well and demonstrates that two seperate agencies can work together if they communicate. They also will roll with us on any other other type of call, with the exception of certain service calls (which is our choice).
In my previous all vollie department, the EMS was also a seperate agency. It had a paid M-F daytime staff and vollies all other times. Again we worked well. our chief did not require them to roll on alarms, trash/debris, brush or auto fires as they were willing but he felt the extra vehicle at the scene was unessecary. They did roll on smoke investigations (inside) and structure fires. They did not on roll CO calls where there no reports of occupants feeling ill, but did roll when there were reports of ill occupants. Again these were all protocols that we set up with them and the system worked well.
We did not run EMS first response until 2001, and even then it was for a limited number of situations.
My point is that you need not consolidate to have an effective response. It simply requires some time spent together talking and developing protocols that both agencies can live with. Combining will require many organizational and operational changes, which some departments may find difficult.
Last edited by LaFireEducator; 01-16-2006 at 02:59 PM.
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