Too much rescue | April 16, letter
Fire-rescue offers best care possible
The topic of "too much rescue" is one we constantly strive to educate our citizens about. In spite of these efforts, we do not reach everyone.
Since 1980, Pinellas County has had a two-tier advanced life support, or ALS, system that requires dispatching a first-responder fire-based paramedic unit with a private-provider ALS transport unit.
The objective is for first responders to stabilize the patient and then the ambulance to transport the patient to a hospital, allowing first responders to be available for another call.
A second component of the concern results from our closest unit dispatch procedure. St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue responded to 40,450 rescue calls in 2007. As a result of this volume, often the first or primary ALS unit for a particular address may already be on a call. The closest basic life support unit is dispatched along with the next closest ALS unit and ambulance.
This places trained personnel at the patient's side within a medically acceptable time frame. Firefighters/EMTs can administer necessary aid, greatly enhancing the chances for a successful outcome.
The "fully staffed" trucks are a rescue with two personnel and a typical engine with three. The ambulance provides two more.
Rest assured that in these times of tax reform and economic concerns, St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue continues to be judicious with fiscal resources while providing the best care possible. If there are any further questions or discussion desired, please contact us at 893-7694.
James D. Large, fire chief, St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue, St. Petersburg