Prehospital 9-1-1 emergency response is one of the essential public safety functions provided by the United States fire service in support of community health, security and prosperity. Fire service-based emergency medical services (EMS) systems are strategically positioned to deliver time critical response and effective patient care. Fire service-based EMS provides this pivotal public safety service while also emphasizing responder safety, competent and compassionate workers, and cost-effective operations.
It is critical that policy makers understand the importance of having emergency medical services provided through the fire service. Fire service-based EMS is prehospital emergency 9-1-1 medical response provided by the nation’s firefighter EMTs and paramedics. Due to the training, expertise, and equipment of fire service-based EMS responders, they are capable of simultaneously securing a scene, mitigating the hazard, and triaging, extricating, treating, decontaminating (if necessary), and transporting the patients who have been injured to an appropriate medical facility. Time efficiency is a key component of the best designed EMS systems. There is no service more capable of rapid multi-faceted response than a fire-based EMS system.
As the federal, state, and local governments consider their strategic plans for an ‘all hazards’ emergency response system, EMS should be included in those considerations and decision makers should recognize that the U.S. fire service is the most ideal prehospital 9-1-1 emergency response agency.