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The bottom line is that nobody is going to espouse the value of the fire service delivering EMS other than the fire service. As the nation's largest provider of emergency medical services, the fire service delivers tremendous benefits toward pre-hospital care. Roughly 46% of all transporting agencies in the U.S. are fire departments. In countless communities where the fire service doesn't offer transport, engine and truck companies with skilled firefighters respond as first-response companies, sometimes riding to the hospital on non-fire department ambulances.
FSBEMSA will continue to flourish, as other national fire service organizations have already expressed interest in joining. Further, FSBEMSA will continue to educate local, state and federal decision-makers of the worth of fire-based EMS while being respectful of non-fire-based EMS systems and those national EMS agencies that are not fire based.
GARY LUDWIG, MS, EMT-P, a Firehouse® contributing editor, is a deputy fire chief with the Memphis, TN, Fire Department. He has 30 years of fire-rescue service experience. Ludwig is chairman of the EMS Section for the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), has a master's degree in business and management, and is a licensed paramedic. He is a frequent speaker at EMS and fire conferences nationally and internationally, and can be reached through his website at www.garyludwig.com.