FIRE DEPARTMENT: REDUCE AMBULANCE ASSIST RUNS
The use of fire suppression engines and trucks to serve as ambulance assistance and/or first medical response is inefficient.
Reduce the use of fire suppression engines and trucks for ambulance assistance and/or first medical response.
Cost Savings, Service Improvement
Fire Suppression, EMS
Estimated Annual Impact:
Cannot be Estimated
Estimated Implementation Costs:
Barriers to Implementation:
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.
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.