Why do you send a fire engine to a medical call?
The answer to this question is simple; better service. A fire engine comes along with an ambulance for safety and manpower. We plan for the worst and hope for the best when responding to a call. Why all this? As firefighters and EMT’s who receive a call, we never know exactly what the situation will be until we arrive on scene. If the call turns out to be a severe emergency, it is very possible that every Firefighter/EMT will be utilized to perform a vital function. At times, the call may be minor and not everyone is needed. However, in order to provide the best care to the patients, we must be prepared for any type of situation. Once on scene, the decision is made to release or keep the fire engine.
DURING A MEDICAL EMERGENCY………MINUTES… IN FACT… SECONDS COUNT!
The response of the closest fire engine in an emergency brings trained Emergency Medical service to your home or place of business in minutes. Most times, the engine is closer to the call than the ambulance. Emergency lifesaving equipment, such as, oxygen, cardiac defibrillators, epinephrine are carried on the fire engine. This response, together with the Firefighter/EMTs assigned to the Ambulance, contributes to a quality emergency response.
The fire engine response is beneficial in many ways. It provides for immediate medical intervention, such as, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, enough personnel on the scene to provide for supervision of the patient and scene, and the ability to aid the ambulance personnel while they administer other life saving measures. The Engine crew assists with the movement of a stretcher throughout the building, especially on stairways or when slippery conditions are encountered.
It is necessary to have more than two Firefighter/EMTs to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and cardiac defribrillation, or other Life Saving Measures, especially when moving the patient. Teamwork is the name of the game. It is also important to remember that with medical emergencies, extra hands and bodies are necessary to assist with the care and moving of a patient onto a stretcher.
Why do fire engines respond to car accidents, even when they didn’t look serious?
The Fire Department responds to all accidents where there is suspected injury to occupants of the vehicle. When a call is received at dispatch, quite often the caller does not know if any injuries have occurred as a result of the accident. Even minor accidents cause “whiplash” or other injuries. Sometimes, the reason for the accident is a medical condition that caused the operator to lose control of their vehicle. To that end, all accidents are considered serious and require a response of a fire engine and ambulance.
The Fire Department also has a stake in the protection of the environment. The department supervises the clean-up of fuels, oils and coolants that may affect our natural resources.
Why do so many fire engines respond even if the fire is small?
There is a standard response required to a residential structure fire. That response includes 3 engine companies, 1 tower truck, 1 ambulance and 1 Incident Commander. If these units are not needed, they are released upon arrival or en route. The primary goal of the Fire Department is to protect lives and property and this level of response is necessary to accomplish this goal. Fire Department units are dispatched according to information received by 9-1-1 operators. The Fire Department thinks over cautiously when responding to a citizen in need of help. In other words, the firefighters are prepared to deal with the worst that could happen. Discovering that we need more units once we arrive is often too late. We have learned from experience that it's better to have too
much help than not enough.
Why does the Fire Department bring the fire engine just for a simple inspection?
Two reasons: First, these inspections are conducted by on-duty engine companies that must be ready to respond to an emergency call from the field.
Second, an important part of the value of the public safety inspection is to familiarize your local firefighters with the buildings and businesses. While they check for hazards and consult with business owners on how best to eliminate or minimize the likelihood of a fire, they also familiarize themselves with access points and the layout of the facility.
More to come...