New EMS Study Demonstrates How First Responder Crew Sizes and Paramedic Crew Configuration Influence Emergency Medical Response
A new study issued by a broad coalition in the scientific, fire fighting, EMS and public-safety communities shows that the size and configuration of an EMS first responder crew and an advanced life support (ALS) crew have a substantial effect on a fire department's ability to respond to calls for emergency medical service.
The new study is the first attempt to investigate the effects of varying crew configurations for first responders, the apparatus assignment of ALS personnel, and the number of ALS personnel on scene and the task completion times for ALS level incidents.
The increasing number of EMS responses point to the need for scientifically based studies to measure the operational efficiency and effectiveness of fire departments responding to medical calls. Fire departments typically deliver first-on-scene, out-of-hospital care services, regardless of whether or not they provide transport. The design of fire-based EMS systems varies across communities. Some departments deploy only Basic Life Support (BLS) units and personnel, some deploy a mix of BLS and Advanced Life Support (ALS) units and personnel, and a few departments operate solely at an ALS level.
This study emphasizes that every one of those system design decisions affects emergency medical response and care when each second counts.
The study's principal investigators include Jason Averill of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), Lori Moore-Merrell of the International Association of Fire Fighters and Kathy Notarianni of Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Other organizations participating in this research include the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the Commission on Fire Accreditation International-RISK, the Urban Institute and the University of North Carolina.
The report was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Assistance to Firefighters (FIRE Act) grant program.