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  • Firefighters Request More Ambulances
    Updated On: May 18, 2017

    Fast Facts Regarding Ambulance Capacity

    Eugene Springfield Fire is the name of the agency providing fire response, emergency medical first response and advanced life support (ALS) ambulance transport.

    Eugene Springfield Fire (ESF) is not a government agency, rather the name given to a shared services agreement between the cities of Eugene and Springfield as the governments providing this critical service.

    • ESF has one fire management team but reports to the city manager from both Eugene and Springfield with oversight by the two separate city councils.
    • ESF has two separate budgets one from each city
    • ESF operates two separate ambulance transport enterprise funds, one in each city.

    The city of Eugene and the City of Springfield both operate three (3) 24-hour ALS ambulances staffed by firefighter/paramedics.

    Ambulances in Eugene and Springfield DO NOT currently receive tax support.

    A fee for service funds ambulances and in some cases that fee fund positions and services that would be traditionally funded through general fund tax dollars. 

    The City of Eugene does not have an appropriate number of ambulances staffed and deployed for the population served and demand for service.

    The City of Springfield does have an appropriate number of ambulances deployed for a community their size and demand for service.  In 2016 Springfield’s ambulances subsidized response in the City of Eugene on 30% of their dispatches.

    15 years ago the City of Eugene reduced the number of 24-hour ALS ambulances from four (4) to three (3).

    In fiscal year 2002, the (4) ambulances responded to an average of approx.3,300 calls each.

    In calendar year 2016 the remaining (3) ambulances responded to over 2,000 additional calls each, averaging approx. 5,500 calls per ambulance, which is reflective of a 65%, increase in demand.

               

    With the cities of Albany, Bend, Corvallis and Springfield each deploying three (3) 24-hour ALS ambulances and being ½ the size of the City of Eugene or less, simple math would support the fact that Eugene should deploy more ambulances. 

    The following are some points regarding why your fire department provides ambulance services.

    The fire department is geographically deployed throughout the community to minimize response times. The most expensive parts of the EMS system — personnel, apparatus, and facilities — are already in place to respond to fire and other emergencies. That emergency response infrastructure works very well for EMS response.

    Response time is the absolute priority for medical emergencies. Fire fighters are in the best position to respond quickly and provide vital services on scene.

    EMS has historically been a part of the fire service — especially in metro jurisdictions. EMS is not a distraction from our mission - it is a core service provided by fire fighters and paramedics within the fire department’s mission.

    Pre-hospital 9-1-1 emergency response is one of the essential public safety functions provided by the United States fire service. Fire service-based EMS systems are strategically positioned to deliver time critical response, effective patient care and scene safety.

    Of the 200 most populated communities, 97 percent have the fire service delivering pre-hospital emergency medical service response. Additionally, fire departments provide critical Advanced Life Support (ALS) response and care in 90 percent of the 30 most populated United States cities and counties.

    EMS training is part of the basic training for all fire fighters. Different levels of EMS certification exist in each state.

    Personnel are the most expensive part of any emergency response system. Fire departments are essentially “standing armies” in their communities poised to respond to an emergency. Utilizing fire fighters to provide EMS gets more bang for the buck.

    Fire fighters can work more hours in a week before being paid overtime than can private sector EMS workers, according to Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations.

    The ride in the ambulance for the sick or injured person is only part of an EMS system. A comprehensive EMS system includes rapid response, intervention, stabilization, and then transportation to a definitive care facility, if needed. The direct delivery system is backed up by a continuous training and quality improvement process that seeks to improve the level of care.

    Fire service-based EMS brings the treatment to the patient — wherever they are. Treatment by fire fighters begins immediately, even if the patient is trapped in a building that’s on fire, pinned in a car crash, or in a collapsed structure.

    The provision of EMS response, treatment, and transportation by fire fighters is seamless. One agency (the fire department) is responsible for the continuity of patient care and provides EMS within an “all-hazards” response model.

    Fire departments have very low turnover rates. Therefore fire fighters are long-term workers in their communities and know about community needs including those related to emergency medical response. 


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