Fire Service-Based EMS: Re-Informing Policy-Makers

The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) recently hosted a seminar in Washington, DC addressing fire service-based EMS issues. It was one of several excellent seminars held in conjunction with the CFSI Dinner event in April 2009.


The Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI) recently hosted a seminar in Washington, DC addressing fire service-based EMS issues. It was one of several excellent seminars held in conjunction with the CFSI Dinner event in April 2009. The seminar panel consisted of Lori Moore-Merrell representing...


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  • Developed a "Statement of Principle" for coalition membership
  • Distributed a white paper prepared by prominent members of the medical community titled Pre-Hospital 911 Emergency Medical Response: The Role of the United States Fire Service in Delivery and Coordination
  • Developed a DVD titled Fire Service-Based EMS: The Right Response
  • Developed a website: www.fireservice-ems.com
  • Made presentations to members of Congress and their staffs
  • Made many presentations at major national conferences
  • Wrote several articles for various fire service magazines
  • Developed a strategy for growing the coalition membership

The "Statement of Principle," white paper, DVD and instructions for joining the coalition are available on the website. Many fire service-related associations, fire departments, and even individuals in leadership positions in the fire service, medical community and related disciplines have joined the coalition, and membership continues to grow.

Many of the final decisions that affect systems used to deliver EMS are made by elected officials and agency heads. To make an informed decision about EMS delivery systems, they must understand the value of fire service-based EMS, and it's up to the fire service to make sure that is happening at the federal, state, county and local levels. EMS is one of the most critical and popular services fire departments provide, and the quality of care delivered by fire departments through their EMS systems is outstanding. Many lives are saved, and many others positively impacted, through EMS services delivered every day, throughout the nation, by dedicated firefighters and other fire department members.

The fire service should not assume that policy-makers understand this. The story must be told, and then told again and again. Every new and existing decision-maker who has authority over EMS decisions is a our student. The panel of presenters at the CFSI seminar in April told the story very well, and the Fire Service-Based EMS Advocates are also telling the story, as well as trying to ensure that fire chiefs and firefighters have tools that will help them do the same.

DENNIS COMPTON, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a well-known speaker and the author of several books, including the When in Doubt, Lead series. He is also co-editor of the current edition of the ICMA textbook Managing Fire and Rescue Services. Compton was the fire chief in Mesa, AZ, for five years and assistant fire chief in Phoenix, AZ, where he served for 27 years. Compton is the past chair of the Executive Board of the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA) and past chair of the Congressional Fire Services Institute's National Advisory Committee. He is also chairman of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Board of Directors and the chairman of the Home Safety Council Board of Directors.