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A New Kind of Emergency Response?

Thoughts and Politics

I had a dream yesterday which was rather interesting. It was a somewhat lucid dream in which I was controlling the flow of the story, or thought process. I basically redesigned the structure of Emergency Response for a town.

Imagine this; You live in a town of 60,000 people. It has 12 fire halls, and a mash up of 6 volunteer fire companies. Two police forces, plus your county police and state police force. As well as a town run ambulance service, and private ambulance contracts.

That is a heck of a lot of people to pay. Which is likely why your taxes are high.

Now how about this?

Same town... Except you only have 4 fire halls, each with 2 drivers for two trucks, alternative trucks are filled by paging in off shifts if needed. And a total of 3 or 4 trucks at each station. A fully staffed police force which pulls tripple duty as medical first responders and fire fighters, and a contracted outside ambulance service.

Which would you feel safer in?

In the second example, every town employed emergency responder is fully trained and sworn in as a police officer, medic, and firefighter. The people who happen to be on police duty, keep their turnout gear in their car, as well as a full medical kit. Fires are rare, so why have people sitting around waiting for them? The staffed firehalls can work on their police detective work, while waiting for calls. They can also handle EMS calls and walk in style cases.

So what happens when there is a fire? Well, all the available police get called to the scene in their patrol cars, as well as the fire trucks with their drivers. As the police get their gear on, the drivers catch the hydrant and get the pumper ready for pumping. Meanwhile dispatch pages in the next shift early, for both the police and the fire roles. They may keep a few police officers out on the road to handle calls. They may also use volunteers for such events as relief firefighters.

To me, this sounds like a more economical system which will actually equate to better response times, cheaper taxes, and lower insurance rates.


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