In my area we have volenteer fire depts. and volenteer e.m.s. depts. I know that medical training is becoming more and more meshed with fire training. Should they stay seperate? Should e.m.s. handle all med. calls and fire only fire calls?
Personally doesn't matter to me but I can promise you you will never get me to clean up after some drunk pukes in a rig for free but aside from that we are all going to have to face that the more the municiplaities can combine the cheaper it is for them i.e. one major insurance bond with all one group of people . in some areas by me the Poloce have control of the EMS and all the paid people (my wife included) are under the Police benefits for health all the buses say Police ems services...the uniforms are identical to cops and patches as well but its cheaper to carry 300 people under police insurance than 200 cops ..100 ems and 100 fire personel so if you see the writing on the wall start to study now cause its coming
I think that as a general rule, in most areas a fire response will be faster than an EMS response. So, if we are truly a "customer driven" service, all FDs should have at least a first responder capability and have its members trained to that level with AED capability.
Does this mean that a fire truck has to roll on every call regardless of nature? No, it just means that if there is a potentially life-threatening condition, the FD goes along with the ambulance. The decision to send the FD should be based on emergency medical dispatch protocols.
Those of you who don't want to provide EMS care are a dying breed. EMS is the future of the fire service. Love it or hate it. One, it provides income for your city/department, two, it helps get your staffing levels up, and three, as the future comes there will be less and less structure fires (ask the "older" hands who made all those fires in a single shift) because of better building codes and all the older buildings will burn out.
Hayden? What a beautiful, all-encompassing, all inclusive statement! Crosses all boundaries doesn't it? Everywhere and everybody have to follow your model. The world is bigger than your backyard mate...
My area has both separate and combined. There are a few fire dept's that run BLS units as volunteers. We also have all but a few
the the dept's running volunteer QRS services (mostly BLS). There are also three (I think) volunteer BLS transports that are separate from
the town's FD. Not sure if there are cross over members or not, one would think there were. All of the counties ALS transports are paid and separate from any FD.
There are differing opinions about FF's with medical training. I think everyone should have basic CPR and First Aid training.
Seconds count if you're a FF, EMT, John Q Public, or just some Whacker. Do you need to be a Nationally registered Paramedic
to put out a brush fire ?? NO. Does first aid training help when someone twists their ankle fighting that fire ?? YES.
Both sides need to have a basic understanding of what the other guy is doing.
Having worked the EMS / Fire related jobs for over 35 years now, I feel qualified to comment on this with some actual background in both.
EMS: In the perfect world, this would be handled by folks dedicated to this specific discipline. You cannot effectively keep up with all the EMS pre-hospital care issues and still maintain proficiency in the myriad of topics that have to be covered by the fire service. I've done both and want to make note that while I am doing hose evolutions or fire prevention activities, the medics are hanging around the hospitals and emergency rooms, absorbing on the job training and input from health care professionals. Apples and oranges... Our medics do not always have the luxury of hanging around the hospital and many times are in a hurry to get back into service so they can get back to their district(s). Private ambulance companies on the other hand want their employees to hang around the hospitals because their bread and butter is the inter facility transports. This "hanging around" concept ensures a better understanding for both providing patient care as well as blending in with the health care professionals.
Fire: Anyone in the fire service who has the attitude that they don't like EMS calls or don't want to clean out the back of the rig because there is vomit or blood in it needs to recheck why they are in this business. I'm not wild about some of the stuff myself but it's part of the job. So much a part of what we do that over 80% of the calls we run are EMS related. So if you don't want to deal with EMS issues, then prepare yourself for another line of work. The days of firefighters not wanting to deal with EMS went out in the 1970's when paramedic programs were just starting. Regardless, having as much EMS related knowledge is essential to enable taking care of your own.
Bottom Line: In these troubled fiscally strapped times, anyone in the fire service whining about not wanting to do anything may find themselves out of a job. There is always someone out there willing to do what you don't want to do and for less pay. EMS does pay the bills and ensure our own survival. Anyone with a cavalier attitude, wanting to pick and choose the types of calls they respond to needs to look at another way to make a living (in my opinion...).
Well said, Capt. Mike. You know when the leaders of our great governments look for ways to cut funding, where do they seem to look at first? Yep, it's us in the Public Safety world. I have been in the fire service for 28 years and have been an EMT since '85. I was brought up in the world of "Emergency". Roy and Johnny (paramedics) did their thing along side Chet, Marco, Stoker and Capt. Stanley (ffs from Eng. 51). Sure they were part of the same fire dept. and same station. Their duties were separate on most occasions. Jihnny and Roy did see fire on occasion. We need to look at the big picture. We are all in it, or at least some of us claim to be, for the same reason, to help the public and "save lives". Having said that, what good reason should not ffs be cross trained in the BLS world. What would happen if Capt Mike, if I may, pulled out a victim and all his district's medical units were tied up and were unable to respond to his victim in respiratory or cardiac arrest? What does he do with his victim, if he or his dept. are not trained to the BLS level. I'll go one better, what if that victim was a brother/sister ff, and you and your dept. were not trained? Being cross trained is every bit a good thing. Pretty soon, because of budget cuts, we will be doing more fire prevention stuff, the bldg. inspections, some public works' duties, if we are not doing them already. Be careful what you ask and don't ask for. You may just get it. It goes down a lot better by not being force fed. TCSS.
What do you do with people like my husband that has been a FF for over 30 years and is not capable of passing an FR or EMT test? It's not that he doesn't KNOW what to do, he's not a test taker. Will you get rid of a fine fireman because he can't do medical? Where is the sense in that? We have a couple of firemen that do NOT want to respond to medical. We have an EMT that has almost 20 years experience. She is terrified of fire and would never be a fireman. Will you get rid of a fine tech because she can't fight fire? Because we are all volunteers, they don't HAVE to, and it's no big deal to any of the rest of us.
Our fire department and EMS are seperate, but that doesn't mean we don't work together! EMS has SO page Fire for our big patients when we need lifting help, Fire has SO page EMS for standby when needed and we are paged simultaneously for all structure fires. We are paged out simultaneously for MVA rollovers/entrapments. There is no instance of needing one service over the other, we are there together.
There are about a dozen of us that are FF/EMT's and I think that's GREAT. But I do not ever want to see it be a REQUIREMENT that you must be both, I think it elimates too many good people. In the world of volunteers you need all the help you can get, why in the world would you start eliminating people?
We do not have and ambulance and we only have two people who went on their own to get the training I believe that if a fire fighter does not want to become an emt or paramedic they should not have two.
We do have basic first aide and A.E.D. training and there is a paid Ambulance service about a quarter mile from our station.
To be a firefighter in the state of California, one must be certified as a FF-1, EMT, Hazmat Technician and RS-1 for starters. This level of service, considered the bare bones minimum has resulted in several small volunteer fire departments to simply go out of business. I've been watching volunteer departments go down, one by one, due to the voluminous training required for firefighters. Couple this with liability issues and increased insurance and workers comp costs and you end up with larger more stable funding sources, i.e. county or state agencies taking over these responsibilities. For those able to qualify with the minimum training standards as mentioned above, a job is offered... For those unable to keep up with the training requirements, a job as a firefighter is a thing of the past. I am not aware of any volunteer EMS in the state of California... What's sad is that this will more than likely become a trend across the United States. California is just setting the trend...
It's interesting Mike to see the differences around the world.
Over here, Fire is very (very, very, very!) seperate to EMS. Although in some areas, career fireys are trained as first responders, it's as a backup to the ambulance service. (My understanding is that fire get activated when there is no ambulance available and will stabilise till the paramedics arrive). At no stage do the fireys dictate anything to the paramedics.
I don't beleive we'll ever see an amalgamation of the two services here, but I believe it is enivitable that our two fire services will combine. (One is purely career (MFB) and looks after metropolitan Melbourne only and the other is a mix of vol and career (CFA) which look after the remainder of the state).
I'd also like to see the SES the picked up in the amalgamation. The SES handle road crash rescue for probably 90% of the state, and they also do SAR, Storm Damage, Flood Boats, etc.
Having said all that, I won't hold my breath- I beleive if it does happen, it's a long way off- just as you guys appear entrenched in your "combined" service, we're very entrenched in our seperate services.