EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES (EMS) – Introduction

Getting emergency medical help to your location requires many partnerships when calling 9-1-1: a 9-1-1 telephone system must route calls to a dispatch center; the dispatch center must gather information and communicate it to field personnel; field personnel must stabilize the patient; the ambulance and/or helicopter must transport the patient to the hospital; the hospital must triage the patient, possibly further stabilize the patient, and send him or her to the appropriate specialist. Below you will find information on what emergency medical services (EMS) is and how it is delivered to you in Contra Costa County.

This page answers questions that you may have: what is EMS (emergency medical services), why do we send a fire engine to medical calls, how does 911 work, and why are firefighters paramedics?

Read more:

http://www.contracostafirefighters.org/index.cfm?section=29&pagenum=350

Why Do We Send A Fire Engine To A Medical Emergency?

Many people haven’t thought of what to expect when they dial 911. If they have, they may figure that a call for help means that someone will show up relatively quickly and deal with their problem. If someone were to ask you why you would call 911 you would list a handful of situations. At the top of that list would likely be a medical emergency, fire, burglar and the like. But do you give much thought to who shows up or how they get there and who decided that is the best way to respond to your emergency call? In these challenging economic times, we are all looking for ways to save money, reduce waste, and eliminate duplications in services, but is sending a fire engine with three specially trained professionals a duplication of service?

When you call 911 in Contra Costa County, your 911 call is routed to the Fire District for emergency medical calls. Every Fire District dispatcher is certified in emergency medical dispatch (EMD) and trained to ask a series of questions to determine the best response.

Why send a fire engine? The Fire District is the primary medical first responder in most communities due to short response times, a skilled workforce, and the ability to bring time-sensitive, life-saving interventions to a patient quickly. Think of a fire engine as a multi-use platform for fires, rescue, and emergency medical service (EMS) calls where three trained professionals are always ready and available for the next emergency call, whatever it is. The apparatus are big and expensive but very versatile. They are like a giant tool box filled with the tools that can save your life.

The current EMS delivery model in our county includes a priority dispatch of the closest paramedic fire engine with a typical response time of 4-6 minutes. A simultaneous dispatch of a private paramedic ambulance with a required (by contract) response time of no more than 11 minutes and 45 seconds occurs. The Emergency Medical Dispatcher will give pre-arrival instructions to the 911 caller, if applicable. The engine will arrive to evaluate the situation and begin patient treatment. The ambulance will arrive and, depending on the situation, either assist fire paramedics already at the scene or take over patient care prior to transport to the appropriate hospital. Regardless of who arrives first, the fire and ambulance crews work together to provide you with patient care.

Recent advances in emergency medicine have contributed to increases in patient survival rates. Our county has a survival rate of 35.5% for witnessed cardiac arrests with a shockable heart rhythm. That percentage is astounding compared to the national average of 20.5%. The combined efforts of the County EMS Authority, our Fire District, AMR ambulance, and the hospital system continue to make a difference!

While the primary mission of the fire service has changed dramatically in the past fifty years, fires still occur with regular frequency in our county. In our Fire District, we still experience a significant level of fire activity, both structural and wildland. The geographical coverage afforded by fire station locations and the number of fire engines within our Fire District allows us the capability to address both fire and emergency medical response.

Our County has an integrated EMS team. The County EMS Authority, who has the ultimate responsibility for the delivery of these services, has worked diligently to provide the highest level of EMS care possible. Working together, the emergency medical dispatch, fire engines with advanced life support paramedics, transport ambulances, and emergency rooms do not provide a duplication of service but rather an organized systematic approach to medical emergencies in our county. The initial response, detection, and treatment of critical trauma, stroke and heart attack provide our residents with the best chance for survival. Current survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest are at the highest in the county’s history and every responder in the system makes significant contributions to that success.
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The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District provides 28 staffed fire companies with three personnel – at least one of those personnel on each fire apparatus is a paramedic. Our fire apparatus provide all the necessary tools, equipment, supplies, drugs, and medications to provide advanced life support emergency medical care. www.cccfpd.org

New Content Added to Our Website Under FAQ – Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

Getting emergency medical help to your location requires many partnerships when calling 9-1-1:

a 9-1-1 telephone system must route calls to a dispatch center; the dispatch center must gather information and communicate it to field personnel; field personnel must stabilize the patient; the ambulance and/or helicopter must transport the patient to the hospital; the hospital must triage the patient, possibly further stabilize the patient, and send him or her to the appropriate specialist.

Click on the link to our FAQ section to find more information on what emergency medical services (EMS) is and how it is delivered to you in Contra Costa County.

Emergency Medical Services

Contra Costa Supervisors Accept Offer of Firefighter Pay Cuts

MARTINEZ — The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors unanimously accepted Tuesday an offer of 10 percent in pay cuts from its 300 firefighters, dispatchers and fire investigators worth $6.2 million in savings a year.

The deal averted threatened closures of as many as four Contra Costa Fire Department stations as the severely strapped district struggled to cope with steady declines in property taxes, its chief source of operating cash.

The members of the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 1230 overwhelmingly ratified the new contract last week, which waives a 5 percent in pay hike they were scheduled to collect within the next 12 months and shaves another 5 percent off their existing wages through mid-2012.

The new accord also establishes lower-paid tiers for new employees and reopens pension reform talks in mid-2012.

The supervisors praised the firefighters willingness to give up, in some cases, thousands of dollars in pay in order to preserve their jobs and maintain service levels.

Content provided by MercuryNews.com

Contra Costa County Fire Fighters And Safety Personnel Vote For 10% Pay Cut To Keep Stations Open

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contra Costa County Fire Fighters and safety personnel vote for 10% pay cut to keep stations open.

Martinez, CA – June 22, 2011 – On June 20 and 21, 2011, the members of the United Professional Firefighters of Contra Costa County, IAFF Local 1230, voted to take a 10% pay reduction to keep fire stations open.

In April of 2011, Local 1230 approached the County Board of Supervisors and requested to open negotiations. Local 1230 acknowledged that due to the economic downturn and lowered property values, the District had lost $12 million in revenue annually. The District’s only viable solution to the problem was to close up to four fire stations July 1, 2011 to help close this budget gap.

Local 1230 felt that these closures coupled with the de-staffing of an engine company in Walnut Creek in January 2011 presented a significant risk to the safety of the citizens and the firefighters that served them.

Local 1230 took a pro-active approach and developed a proposal to address the monetary shortfall. An overwhelming majority of the members voted in favor of granting the county the following concessions:

• Waive two raises due July 1, 2011 and Jan 1, 2012 (total of 5%)
• A base salary pay cut of an additional 2.5% to begin 1/1/2012 and a second 2.5% pay cut on 7/1/2012 (total of 5%)
• A 10% reduction in the starting salary of all new firefighters, dispatchers, and fire prevention personnel
• One additional station closure at the discretion of the Fire Chief

After learning that the members of Local 1230 had agreed to these concessions, Local 1230 President Vince Wells stated, “I am proud of our members and the sacrifices they make on a daily basis to protect the communities we serve.”

Contact:
Vince Wells, Local 1230 President
vwells@iafflocal1230.org
112 Blue Ridge Dr.
Martinez, CA 94553
925-932-1230

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The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District provides fire protection for nine cities and the unincorporated areas of the county. The cities within the fire district include Antioch, Pittsburg, Bay Point, Martinez, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, and San Pablo. It includes the unincorporated areas of Clyde, Briones, North Richmond, Pacheco and El Sobrante. The area covered is approximately 304 square miles and a population of over 600,000 people. The Fire District consists of 28 fire stations and 29 fire engine companies.

2010 CCRFCC Calls for Service Highlight

The Contra Costa Regional Fire Communication Center (CCRFCC) provides Fire and Emergency Medical Services dispatch, coordination, and technical support services to multiple agencies and of course to the public! The Center is part of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, operating within this agency’s Telecommunications Division. Our 15 Dispatchers responded to and formally documented 88,592 calls for help in the year 2010. Thousands of other “general question” calls or “recommendations for assistance” calls were received and processed during the year by our dispatch center that were not counted in 2010’s yearly total.