Ore. fire department establishes specialized EMS Squad to tackle rising medical calls
“I don’t want to just throw fire engines at EMS problems. I want to throw fire engines at fire problems,” said Medford Fire Chief Thompson
By Sarah Roebuck
MEDFORD, Ore. — An EMS Squad with the Medford Fire Station 13 was created to respond to a rise in emergency medical services calls while giving the fire engine fleet the ability to focus on fires, the Rogue Valley Times reports.
“Being able to take the load off of the firefighters — that’s a big part of it,” Mike Rust, a single role paramedic, told the Rogue Valley Times. “This (ladder) truck is great, it’s really helpful. But it’s pretty hard enough to drive all the way up to the (Rogue Valley) Manor, up a curvy road, for someone that’s just having a medical issue. That’s where we can really fill in.”
The idea for the EMS Squad emerged from the strategic planning process of the Medford Fire Department, explained Eric Thompson, the department’s chief.
Given that 62% of all calls received by the Medford Fire Department pertain to EMS, and these calls are seeing an annual rise of 5% as per the department’s data, the department has set an objective to allocate the most suitable resources for each kind of call, stated Thompson.
“I don’t want to just throw fire engines at EMS problems. I want to throw fire engines at fire problems,” Thompson told the Rogue Valley Times. “So let’s create this other layer to help us.”
Hence, the EMS Squad was established, composed of personnel not trained in firefighting. The EMS Squad crews are equipped to respond to medical calls using a vehicle that is smaller than a fire engine.
From its launch last month until Nov. 9, the EMS Squad has responded to 102 calls, as reported by officials from the city of Medford.