Just saw an ad for the NBC Nightly news tonight that talked about how “Our nation’s bravest” (Showing pictures of fires) are being taken out of the firehouse to care for the nation’s poor.

And this is news now?

Seems to me the article mentioned all over from DC E10 has made it to the airwaves. The problem is the public still has no idea what the mission of the modern fire service is. Is it fires? Is it EMS? Is it code inspection?

I’m sure there are many an IAFF local that would like nothing more than to stop providing EMS services from their fire apparatus, but have they looked at the ink those calls bring? When I run the numbers in my department, there would be no way to justify half the resources we have deployed if they no longer responded to EMS runs. Plus, who will wait on scene 40 minutes for a private ambulance to arrive?

Are we at the crossroads where EMS can be lifted out of the fire service and if so where do we put it? Our pal CK mentions an EMS based EMS system, but my area doesn’t have the resources to deploy EMS without the pre-existing resources staffed by the fire service.

Believe me friends when I say that if there is a more efficient way of providing our services, let’s get to it. But to my readers who are “hardcore firemen” and dislike providing EMS in between your increasingly infrequent fires, just remember it’s your job to provide that service. When that service is no longer part of the expectations of the community you will have serious trouble justifying all those big red trucks when the bells no longer ring.

Without EMS runs our 3 busiest engines and one of the nation’s busiest ladder companies will drop off the list completely. But it’s not all about how busy we are, but are we providing a valuable service to the community in the most efficient manner possible?

I’ll be tuning into NBC News tonight to see the story, curious to see what they report. The timing of the story is also very interesting, considering tomorrow.

Agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Why not leave a comment or subscribe to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader?