Emergency Medical Services
In the 1970s, when the television show Emergency! was a popular form of entertainment, the public clamored for their own jurisdictions to provide paramedic-level EMS. A decade prior had seen a groundbreaking study by the National Academy of Sciences - National Research Council titled "Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society". This report documented the absence of quality emergency care, including the EMS-related inadequacies of (1) no treatment protocols; (2) few trained medical personnel; (3) inefficient transportation; (4) lack of modern communications and equipment; (5) the abdication of responsibility by local authorities; and (6) the lack of research evaluating prehospital care. Recommendations from this report were incorporated into the Highway Safety Act of 1966. This legislation specifically provided for federal involvement to improve EMS plans, ambulance specifications, equipment standards, communications, educational requirements, staffing, and other aspects of caring for medical emergencies.
The EMS profession would never be the same.
We sometimes are asked (and even questioned by those needing aid) why we sent a fire truck to a medical situation. Sometimes it is for manpower, as explained in the previous paragraph. Other times it is because we don't want you to have to wait precious minutes for a medic unit to arrive when they are already on other runs and we have to utilize a mutual-aid partner from a distant fire department. With each fire truck staffed by paramedics and EMTs, and carrying much of the same EMS equipment as the medic units, it only makes sense to send them to your location to treat and stabilize while awaiting the transport vehicle's arrival.
We are fortunate in central Ohio to have several well respected hospitals able to provide expert definitive care to our patients. We strive to accommodate patients as much as possible, frequently transporting them to a receiving hospital of their choice. Unfortunately, staffing at these hospitals is sometimes overwhelmed and we may be required to transport a patient to an alternate facility. In all cases, our members will transport to the hospital best able to handle a patient's needs.