“We Called an Ambulance not a Fire Engine”

This is one comment we hear often from the public. “We don’t need the fire department, we need an ambulance.” Yes, we understand that, but here is why the fire department may be dispatched along with an ambulance for a medical emergency… Sometimes the ambulance services that provide coverage for the City may be occupied with other incidents and unable to respond, in which case neighboring ambulance services will be called. The arrival time for these neighboring ambulance services can be anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes. In this case, the fire department is sent to act as a Quick Response Service (QRS) to provide immediate medical care to the ill or injured until an ambulance can arrive on scene. Most of our firefighters are cross trained and certified as Emergency Medical Technicians, along with our fire engines being equipped with medical equipment to handle most emergencies.

Other times a fire engine may be dispatched along with an ambulance includes medical incidents where there are complications or physical barriers to patient care. If there happens to be a seriously injured or ill person the fire department may also be dispatched to assist the ambulance crew in managing care of a patient. Such incidents include cardiac/ respiratory arrests, severely traumatic events, or drug overdoses, all of which require significant numbers of medical professionals. Other incidents may involve a seriously ill or injured person who can’t unlock a door or window to allow EMS providers to enter the residence to care for them. The fire department would then be called to force entry into the residence using the least invasive method possible.

The entire goal of this fire department Quick Response Service is to provide the quickest and safest emergency medical care to those in need until a EMS transport service can arrive on scene. Most of these firefighter/ EMT’s providing this service are completely volunteer and receive no benefit for doing so, but are still held to high professional standards. You will never receive a bill for this fire department service, which may prove to be vital in saving the life of someone you know.

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