Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

Emergency_Medical_ServicesDid you know that over 70% of our calls are requests for medical assistance?  More and more, your neighborhood firefighters are the first to respond to a medical emergency.  That’s why all of our career firefighters have at least a basic Emergency Medical Technician certification.  These skills are continuously enhanced by continuing education and training, and all of this is done to provide you with quick and effective emergency response.

Why do fire engines go to medical calls?

All NWFR firefighters are medically trained to provide basic life support. Therefore, a fire engine transporting firefighters is often the fastest type of medical response available.

Why might more than one ambulance respond to a medical call?

When an individual calls 9-1-1, dispatchers may alert career firefighters, volunteer firefighters, and paramedics. Career firefighters may arrive in an ambulance or in an ambulance and a fire engine. Volunteers may respond from nearby stations. If a patient needs advanced life support, paramedics may arrive in a Whatcom Medic One ambulance to provide ALS care. Depending on the severity of the incident, up to three ambulances may be dispatched to a medical call to ensure a rapid response.

Why might a fire engine and an ambulance go to a medical call?

Firefighters are unaware of how many hands they will need to care for a patient until they arrive on scene and assess the incident. A patient may need CPR, splinting, or to be carried down stairs, all of which may require additional firefighters. Arriving in multiple vehicles also allows two personnel to transport a patient to the hospital while the rest of the crew return to the station and prepare for the next call. Finally, traveling with both an engine and an ambulance means that a crew can respond to the next   emergency, whether fire or medical, without returning to the station for additional apparatus and wasting precious minutes. “When determining what apparatus to send on an emergency,” says Assistant Chief Henry Hollander, “We hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”