Does anyone think this is a waste of resources?

  1. I am sure my area is no different from many...when a 911 call requires medic attention, the fire truck goes out along with the ambulance.

    Now, in the cases of a fire or a car accident, building collapse, or other major accident, I can totally understand why the fire truck goes out because they are the ones that usually have the equipment to get someone out if needed along with engineering knowledge if needed. I can also see that in any car accident, you never know when one may catch fire.

    However, I'm talking about a standard medical call, someone needs ambulance transport, had a heart attack, seizure, whatever....why does the fire truck even need to be there?

    I understand that most firemen are also certified EMT's...but can't the ambulance crew handle it? I mean, how many people does it take to attend to ONE individual.

    I just starting thinking about the amount of pay, gas, etc, that it takes to send a firetruck out on all of those calls and I think it's a total waste of resources.

    When I have seen these from time to time...alot of guys just standing around chatting while only a couple are actually working.

    A neighbor of mine had a son that had a seizure and the ambulance had 3 men (which is enough) and 5 guys that came on a firetruck...3 of them never got out of the firetruck and the 2 that did never even went into the house...they just sat and talked to the 3rd guy that didn't have anything to do.

    Am I alone in feeling this way?
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   traumaRUs
    Nope - however, I can answer to this. I'm a volunteer pre-hospital RN on my rural volunteer squad. We always dispatch whoever is available (be that 2 of us or 10 of us). You never know when an extra set of hands is nice. Also - the police get dispatched on many of our calls because we live in a heavily infested meth-making area.
  4. by   gauge14iv
    and...you never know how much the person will weigh when you get there, or how many distraught relatives will need calming or for how long CPR will need to be done, or how much equipment will need to carried in, or whether or not the street will need to be blocked to land a chopper, or...too many variables.
  5. by   babynurselsa
    The main reason that many places do so is that the fire crew may be able to get there before the ambulance. This makes response time quicker. In our area there are there may be only 10 ambulances posted about the city which may mean a 10 min response time, but mast addresses are less than 5 from the local fire station. Especially if this is a respiratory or a chest pain then at the least they fire crew will have o2 and and aed.
  6. by   traumaRUs
    My rural area covers 44 square miles and currently we have 14 inches of snow and ice on the ground. We have had our trucks get stuck recently on some of the back roads, so it is always a good idea to send a second rig too.
  7. by   Roy Fokker
    Quite simply - many times the calls that are made aren't very descriptive.

    Someone could have just had a heart attack and the person calling in the report, in their panic might just have forgotten to say that it was caused by say "an electrical shock from a downed power line" ... or something similar.
  8. by   BSNtobe2009
    Quote from Roy Fokker
    Quite simply - many times the calls that are made aren't very descriptive.

    Someone could have just had a heart attack and the person calling in the report, in their panic might just have forgotten to say that it was caused by say "an electrical shock from a downed power line" ... or something similar.
    AHHHHHH...ok, THAT explains it for me...and the other posters gave me alot of insight as well.

    Thanks to everyone that responded and solving this little mystery for me.
  9. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Also, considering the squad doesn't necessarily know the environment it'll be approaching, it's not a bad idea to have the fire dept. there when an oxygen tank may be used.
  10. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    Many times the firetruck goes out immediately to start whatever is needed until the ambulance can get there. However, sometimes they do arrive at the same time.


    I agree with the other posters.....you really never know what you will really encounter once you get to the scene.
  11. by   cardiacRN2006
    Actually, I would consider it a waste of resources is an Ambulance had to respond to every call. A lot of these calls don't even require transportation to a hospital. If they do, then it's less time onscene for the unit because the FF have already begun treatment. So they get onscene, take the pt and go.
  12. by   bethin
    My community is different. Only the ambulance goes out unless assistance from firemen is requested, such as a car accident where jaws of life are needed. Very rarely do ambulances and firetrucks go to the same scene. If a call comes in c/o CP, ambulance only.

    I can say this because my nursing supervisor is also head of EMS and we discussed this awhile back.

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