|Baltimore City Needs More Emergency Medical Resources
|Over 70 percent of the calls to the BCFD in FY99 were for medical emergencies. Medic-related calls accounted for nearly 73 percent of BCFD’s responses in FY99, while fires and other incidents prompted almost 27 percent of the responses.This shift toward greater demand for emergency medical services and away from fire suppression is occurring throughout the country, and is particularly pronounced in Baltimore. It is critical that the City reallocate resources to answer its citizens’ needs.The urgent demand for emergency medical services has coincided with relatively lesser demands for a firefighting bureaucracy. On the one hand, Baltimore has an aging population beset by numerous public health issues. On the other hand, fire protection demand is reduced because of the city’s loss of population, targeted outreach efforts including the widespread distribution of smoke detectors, improved building codes, and the increased prevalence of sprinkler and fire detection systems, as well as the accelerated demolition of old and vacant structures. The City must and can provide more than adequate fire protection, while answering the need to improve emergency medical services.The goal is enhanced overall emergency services. Any fire deaths are too many. But there is an equal public health hazard in non-responsive emergency medical services. Baltimore’s record low number of fire deaths in 1999 provides a standard for emergency medical services. In short, Baltimore needs the same level of proficiency in its emergency medical services as provided in the fire protection area.
Introduction: Fire Department