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    Default Firefighter Duty to Act?

    My Department has recently added a part time paid EMS crew. My fire department is extremely small and I usually have to require the assistance of mutual aid for any sort of daytime fire attack. The majority of the paid EMS personnel are cross-trained (EMS and FIRE). The EMT's on the paid crew have been told that they could not have any involvement in fire operations, because that is not what they are paid to do. Some have reported to me that they were told that they could be disciplined if they did engage in firefighting activity. My question is this - do firemen have a duty to act at the scene of a fire? Where can I find documentation on this (For OHIO)? It just seems to me that if I have certified firemen on scene watching a house burn down, that creates a liability for the department and the fireman. Can someone help me out??

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    I cannot say for sure whether there is a duty to act. But going back to the EMS training and duty to act, they are not hired to perform fire operations. They are not dispatched to perform fire operations. Therefore they would not have a duty to act. If the city/county had hired them to perform EMS and Fire then I would say a duty to act exists. Now like I said, I dont know a law outlining any duty to act for fire, but this is just some ideas based off of other duty to act training.

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    if those personnel are there assigned as EMS crewa then no, they connot engage in firefighting activity. if your EMS crew just decided to go ahead and don their gear and make a fire attack then what are you going to do if someone needs hurt and needs medical attention but all of your EMS people are inside fighting a fire?

    if they are working EMS, then thats it.

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    If they're being paid to provide EMS coverage then I feel they should be EMS. If they're Fire/EMS and thats what they're being paid for then thats another story. Where you at in Ohio?

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    There is no duty to act for firefighting in Ohio. Besides that, they are employed as an EMS provider by a fire agency. If they were told by their employer that they were not to handle any firefighting duties while at their job that is what they are to do.

    Does it make sense. No and yes. The reason they are employed is because the department had to rely on Mutual-aid too many times for EMS calls. They were not hired by your statement for any part of firefighting.

    I would have rather seen them also having the opportunity to fight fire also since they are there already. But the powers that be see it the other way. Not playing politics, but maybe there was a reason this was implemented by the chief and the village/city.

    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!

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    the career department runs the ALS ambulance service for the whole county. on the ambulances and resuces are personnel who are trained as EMT's and paramedics. every EMT-B is also a firefighter and some of the paramedics are also firefighters. if they are assigned to the rescue they can fight fire because the rescue is a fire/ems unit. but if they are assigned to the ambulance then they CANNOT fight fire because they are assigned as EMS for that incident. what would happen if the ambulance crew left to go fight fire and a firefighter went down? that is a delay in care now for that firefighteer because the medics were off playing in the fire

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    Quote Originally Posted by KevinFFVFD View Post
    if those personnel are there assigned as EMS crewa then no, they connot engage in firefighting activity. if your EMS crew just decided to go ahead and don their gear and make a fire attack then what are you going to do if someone needs hurt and needs medical attention but all of your EMS people are inside fighting a fire?

    if they are working EMS, then thats it.
    I worked in this type of department as a fulltime employee for about 5 years -The responsibility was to serve the community. Our main job was to ensure that the ambulance got out on the street but when a fire was dispatched we went and acted in the capacity of firefighters {usually on the apparatus} our PPE was required to be carried in the ambulance at all times and we were to answer the calls as they came in. That's the way it should be.

    As for needing an ambulance at a fire.....Our county automatically assigns an additional ambulance and ALS unit to a working fire scene knowing full well that 90% of the career personnel will be engauged in firefighting. Mutial Aid is and has been very helpful. - Now that's where I'm at - where others may be may not be that simple based on EMS need, territory , etc... Having Employees in dual roles can do nothing but benefit the fire company.

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    My Dept is near Dayton. I understand that an EMS crew needs to provide EMS, but with volunteer staffing concerns, those EMTS may be the difference between saving and losing a house. If it was my house, I would be outraged if I knew two certified fireman stood by and watched my house burn down because there was not enough people to facilitate an attack. That sticks out in my mind as a liability, especially when a second medic is only a few minutes away. What ever happened to teamwork?? It seems like there will always be a BIG dividing line separating Fire and EMS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cclark1296 View Post
    My Department has recently added a part time paid EMS crew. My fire department is extremely small and I usually have to require the assistance of mutual aid for any sort of daytime fire attack. The majority of the paid EMS personnel are cross-trained (EMS and FIRE). The EMT's on the paid crew have been told that they could not have any involvement in fire operations, because that is not what they are paid to do. Some have reported to me that they were told that they could be disciplined if they did engage in firefighting activity. My question is this - do firemen have a duty to act at the scene of a fire? Where can I find documentation on this (For OHIO)? It just seems to me that if I have certified firemen on scene watching a house burn down, that creates a liability for the department and the fireman. Can someone help me out??
    Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen and whom ever made that rule will be in the hot seat. Trained personnel forbidden to act in "any" situation...

    The old saying never say never.... because a situation will occur that will bite you. Obviously the EMS crew should not under normal situation donne SCBA and fight fire if there is a EMS situation to deal with, but they may be able to assist the pump operator or assist in changing a air cylinder or something while "standing by". That may free up someone to fight fire or do a primary search....

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    Interesting question.

    There is no doubt that since they were hired to provide EMS coverage, and the employer has made that very clear, they should not be involved in firefighting.

    As for the discussuin about should they, there are a lot of variables that come into play. Since I have no idea of the area, I'm not going to comment on that, but just think of the lawsuit potential if an EMS call occurred blocks awy from the fire incident, and the medic unit was not available because the crew was operating at the fire, and the patient died. It can work both ways.

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