Why do so many Firefighters show up for a medical emergency?
We respond both an Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic Unit and Basic Life Support (BLS) Engine or Truck Company on all life threatening emergencies. This means that 6 personnel from the Fire Department might enter your house, with at least 2 of those personnel being firefighter/paramedics. In the event that cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is needed, the paramedics would not be available to provide advanced life support if they were performing 2 person CPR. The typical division of labor during these types of emergencies is as follows:
One paramedic to perform advanced airway procedures (Intubation), gather information, make base hospital contact, receive and give medication orders, and oversee all aspects of patient care
One paramedic to administer cardiac defibrillation, gain Intravenous access, administer medications, oversee C.P.R. and monitor all aspects of patient care.
Two BLS firefighters to perform C.P.R.
One BLS firefighter to assist with preparation of all medical equipment and supplies, many of which have to be assembled at the scene to maintain sterility.
One supervisor to oversee the entire incident, help with transportation and patient transfer, console family members, respond to questions, gather information, and request additional resources if needed.
On many emergency calls, not all personnel are needed. We respond for the worst case scenario, and release personnel if they are not needed. The absolute best in patient care is always our goal and many times an extra pair of helping hands makes that care a step above the norm for citizens of Torrance.