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Ambs NON-Emergent to Fire calls

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jimmnn

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Fatal Crash Leads To Change In Response Procedures

(AP) BOULDER, Colo. A fatal crash has caused Boulder to rethink its initial response to fires.

Fire Chief Larry Donner said ambulances will not speed to fires unless there is a clear indication of threat to life.

"Even if there's a call of smoke and flames, they're going to run nonemergency," Donner said. "The thought is it would take us (firefighters) a little while to set up and make an interior attack, and if there was anyone inside, the ambulance would still arrive in a timely fashion to help any victims we might find at the fire scene."

On May 1, an ambulance with its sirens on and flashing hit a car driven by Hannah Boemker, 16, of Lafayette, killing her. The fire call turned out to be a false alarm.

Although the driver was following the rules, officials say, a policy change was needed.

Ambulances will travel to fires at normal speeds and not run stop lights unless it is confirmed that paramedics are needed immediately. "If someone calls in and says to the dispatcher, 'There's a fire and my mother is burned,' that would trigger an emergency ambulance response," Donner said.

Ambulance drivers may arrive a few minutes later, but Mike Donner, president of Pridemark Paramedic Services, said it is a "very sound decision." "There are a lot of times there's not a fire," he said. "We're still going to be heading in that direction and we'll still get there relatively quickly."

Dennis Boemker, Hannah's father, said police have kept them informed as the investigation progresses. "We'll just sort of hear it when we hear it," he said. "We're just waiting until they do everything they need to do."
 
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Non-FD ambulances running hot on the initial report of a structure fire is just plain stupid and an unnecessary risk to the EMS crews and the general public. That this is/was the norm is unbelievable.
Considering that most structure fire reports aren't even fires, and that in actual fires there is more often than not no injuries, a code 3 response by an ambulance "just because" is inexcusable.
About time Boulder giot thier head on straight.
 

epbernstein

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firescannerbob said:
Non-FD ambulances running hot on the initial report of a structure fire is just plain stupid and an unnecessary risk to the EMS crews and the general public. That this is/was the norm is unbelievable.
Considering that most structure fire reports aren't even fires, and that in actual fires there is more often than not no injuries, a code 3 response by an ambulance "just because" is inexcusable.
About time Boulder giot thier head on straight.
I think it is a good policy change, but I don't know if it would have made a difference in this particular situation (I used to live a block away from the accident scene). The ambulance didn't run a stop sign or signal--the young lady had the stop sign. From where she was it is an almost blind intersection in that there is a slight hill and a curve from where the ambulance was approaching. If anything the emergency equipment would have decreased the chances of the accident occuring provided that the ambulance was operating within speed guidelines (no more than 10 over speed limit)...
 

RISC777

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A General Observation

I know it's for safety reasons, but when I see an emergency vehicle of any type/kind noticeably slow down at intersections be it a stop light or stop sign type, I think - "Sad they have to slow down when their lights and sirens don't give enough warning, so hurry as much as you can through there and to the person(s) needing your help."

And when I see someone *not* slow and move to the shoulder (or median if multi-lane with no divider on the left side) and stop, that angers me. So when I do that (slow get out of the way, stop) and I begin move back onto the roadway after checking for any others coming behind the one I moved over for and some *idiot* who was behind wants to pass me...that's another one that gets my blood pressure up.

Okay, rant/vent complete. Thank yous all around.
 

epbernstein

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RISC777 said:
I know it's for safety reasons, but when I see an emergency vehicle of any type/kind noticeably slow down at intersections be it a stop light or stop sign type, I think - "Sad they have to slow down when their lights and sirens don't give enough warning, so hurry as much as you can through there and to the person(s) needing your help."

And when I see someone *not* slow and move to the shoulder (or median if multi-lane with no divider on the left side) and stop, that angers me. So when I do that (slow get out of the way, stop) and I begin move back onto the roadway after checking for any others coming behind the one I moved over for and some *idiot* who was behind wants to pass me...that's another one that gets my blood pressure up.

Okay, rant/vent complete. Thank yous all around.
It's a tough situation. In 1978 I was working at Denver General when one of our paramedics was riding in back of his rig when it got into a traffic accident. He was thrown into a cabinet and became a quadriplegic...
 

n4voxgill

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firescannerbob said:
Non-FD ambulances running hot on the initial report of a structure fire is just plain stupid and an unnecessary risk to the EMS crews and the general public. That this is/was the norm is unbelievable.
Considering that most structure fire reports aren't even fires, and that in actual fires there is more often than not no injuries, a code 3 response by an ambulance "just because" is inexcusable. About time Boulder giot thier head on straight.
Based on your comments it would appear that only one FD unit should resond emergency.
 

RISC777

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epbernstein said:
It's a tough situation. In 1978 I was working at Denver General when one of our paramedics was riding in back of his rig when it got into a traffic accident. He was thrown into a cabinet and became a quadriplegic...
First, sorry to hear about the injured paramedic.

But that's a prime example of why I think POV operators 'change' when they get behind the wheel and turn into .. umm .. *idiots* = subnormal intelligence (to be nice about it). Hopefully subnormal intelligence when driving does not become the 'norm.'
 

RISC777

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Originally Posted by firescannerbob
Non-FD ambulances running hot on the initial report of a structure fire is just plain stupid and an unnecessary risk to the EMS crews and the general public. That this is/was the norm is unbelievable.
Considering that most structure fire reports aren't even fires, and that in actual fires there is more often than not no injuries, a code 3 response by an ambulance "just because" is inexcusable. About time Boulder giot thier head on straight.


n4voxgill said:
Based on your comments it would appear that only one FD unit should resond emergency.
By the numbers (I've got some if you ever want to see them) it is true that the majority of fire alarms (smoke detector, water flow, general, etc.) and including "reported" structure fires are not structures actually on fire. So it's a balancing act due to the instance where it is a true fire incident and not always knowing if life/limb is endangered, or not. So at least for FD rigs responding, for public safety I would say they should respond hot. Me not knowing how many or which rigs EMS trained fire fighting crews or individuals are on, I can't comment on an ambulance responding in emergent. And Boulder isn't alone in this respect.

[Automobile accidents, those should have the FD and an ambulance/paramedic unit respond in hot. But that's another topic.]
 

JoeyC

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Emergency vehicles shouldn't be "speeding" to scenes PERIOD! Its one thing to be running code sanely but wreckless driving by racing through cities is just stupid.
 
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n4voxgill said:
Based on your comments it would appear that only one FD unit should resond emergency.
Wow, I don't know how you got that out of my comments, and you're wrong, I don't think that.
Don't confuse a "fire alarm" with a 9-1-1 report of a structure fire. Personally I think too many FD's have too many apparatus respond emergent to automatic alarms, considering that 99.9% of them are false alarms.
Ambulances don't put out fires. FD-based ambulances that contain firefighters who may engage in actual fire suppression are different than non-FD based ambulances that don't have firefighters on board.
 
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JoeyC said:
Emergency vehicles shouldn't be "speeding" to scenes PERIOD! Its one thing to be running code sanely but wreckless driving by racing through cities is just stupid.
Gee Joey, what the hell are talking about? "Speeding", "wreckless driviing", and "racing through cities" is not the subject here.
But hey, thanks for the rant! :(
 
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RISC777 said:
By the numbers (I've got some if you ever want to see them) it is true that the majority of fire alarms (smoke detector, water flow, general, etc.) and including "reported" structure fires are not structures actually on fire. So it's a balancing act due to the instance where it is a true fire incident and not always knowing if life/limb is endangered, or not. So at least for FD rigs responding, for public safety I would say they should respond hot. Me not knowing how many or which rigs EMS trained fire fighting crews or individuals are on, I can't comment on an ambulance responding in emergent. And Boulder isn't alone in this respect.

[Automobile accidents, those should have the FD and an ambulance/paramedic unit respond in hot. But that's another topic.]
I don't have any numbers, but I've been a firefighter for almost 29 years, and I can probably count on one hand the number of automatic fire alarms that I responded to that were actual fires. 9-1-1 calls of structure fires is a bit different, and the chances of finding an actual fire when responding to a 9-1-1 call is much higher (at least based on my experiences...your mileage may vary).

In both the city where I live and the city where I work, ambulances do not respond hot as a matter of routine to structure fires. Of course, any indication of persons being in danger may change that, but that is quite infrequent.
The issue isn't about the emergency drivers ability or practices, but the issue is that the mere act of turning on the red lights and siren greatly increase the chances for a wreck. I drive a fire engine every day I work, and sometimes my captain asks me to turn off the cloaking device, because you'd swear all those lights and the siren make my engine invisible.
 
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n4voxgill said:
thats what you posted and it certainly doesn't support emergency response by more than one unit.
Well, you're stretching it a bit, but that is true. The rest of my reply (which you convienently failed to copy) explained my point a bit better. And of course, none of this has to do with the topic at hand, which is ambulances responding to fire calls.
 

JoeyC

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firescannerbob said:
Gee Joey, what the hell are talking about? "Speeding", "wreckless driviing", and "racing through cities" is not the subject here.
But hey, thanks for the rant! :(
Apparently you missed the opening post about speeding to scenes. Try re-reading it.
 
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JoeyC said:
Apparently you missed the opening post about speeding to scenes. Try re-reading it.
The word "speed" is used once, and not in conjunction with "wreckless" and "racing through cities". You read an awful lot into just one word. A competent emergency apparatus driver can speed (and try defining that) without being wreckless... thousands do it every day.
 

JoeyC

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firescannerbob said:
The word "speed" is used once, and not in conjunction with "wreckless" and "racing through cities". You read an awful lot into just one word. A competent emergency apparatus driver can speed (and try defining that) without being wreckless... thousands do it every day.
Obviously the competent emergency apparatus driver that is the subject of this topic wasn't so competent in this particular instance, or the Chief wouldn't be considering policy changes. Their actions were wreckless as was the driving, something that probably occurs thousands of times every day, as you mention.

I doubt that this is the first and only time this has happened while speed was involved.
 
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scanlist

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Here we go with threadjacking out of staters again.

Of course the armchair quarterbacks sitting back in Texas, Cali and B.F. Egypt are experts on the nightmare that is Boulder.

I work in the city of Boulder and there are many intersections that are dangerous especially near the open space areas to the East and West of the city. Combine that with asshat drivers, arrogant bicyclists and drunks doing face plants in the street and it makes for an interesting commute.

The way it was is that they were to roll code per the agreement with the city. Pridemark did what was required at the time. A fatal changed city policy. What's happened happend. Placing blame is idiotic and conterproductive at this point.

The world is not perfect. Man learns from his mistakes. (Though lately one starts to wonder)

Phil.
 
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cstockmyer

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I agree with Phil 100%. It's sad someone lost their life, but at the time it was thought someone eles was going to as well. Politicians need to stay out of things they have no idea about. Lets face it. How many of us have been going to a hot call at some point. Code 10, Code 3 what ever, and you get cut off? Someone does not yield? Better yet someone just does not get out of your way. It happens everyday! I saw it all the time in the explorers, and I saw it when I rode with my cousin when she was out on the street. If they would of not been going with lights and sirens, and it would of been a good call, and that person died. They'd be sued so many times their head would spin.

That's just my opinion though
 
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evilklown

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scanlist said:
Here we go with threadjacking out of staters again.

Of course the armchair quarterbacks sitting back in Texas, Cali and B.F. Egypt are experts on the nightmare that is Boulder.

I work in the city of Boulder and there are many intersections that are dangerous especially near the open space areas to the East and West of the city. Combine that with asshat drivers, arrogant bicyclists and drunks doing face plants in the street and it makes for an interesting commute.

The way it was is that they were to roll code per the agreement with the city. Pridemark did what was required at the time. A fatal changed city policy. What's happened happend. Placing blame is idiotic and conterproductive at this point.

The world is not perfect. Man learns from his mistakes. (Though lately one starts to wonder)

Phil.
Nicely Put couldnt be any clearer then that.
 
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