FIRE DEPARTMENT: REDUCE AMBULANCE ASSIST RUNS

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FIRE DEPARTMENT: REDUCE AMBULANCE ASSIST RUNS

 

Problem Identification:
The use of fire suppression engines and trucks to serve as ambulance assistance and/or first medical response is inefficient.

Recommended Action:
Reduce the use of fire suppression engines and trucks for ambulance assistance and/or first medical response.

Classification:
Cost Savings, Service Improvement

Functional/Operational Area:
Fire Suppression, EMS

Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated

Estimated Implementation Costs:
Not Determined

Barriers to Implementation:
None

Projected Implementation:
Ongoing

Next Step:
As the Department places additional EMS units in service, the number of ambulance assist/first responder runs by its fire suppression engines and trucks should decline.

Analysis:
In FY99, fire suppression trucks and engines were dispatched approximately 49,000 times for ambulance assists. On these ambulance “assists,” a first-line fire company responds in order to stabilize the patient while waiting for a medic unit to arrive which can actually transport the person to a nearby hospital. The practice of dispatching fire engines and trucks, staffed by firefighters, to medical emergencies is a reaction to the previously described workload imbalance between fire suppression and EMS. The practice, however, is very costly. The complex fire equipment costs two to five times that of a medic unit and is staffed by four firefighters, as opposed to a medic unit staffed by two paramedics. It is preferable to have the less expensive, more effective ambulance and paramedics respond promptly.