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Some First Responders Protest New EMS Plan in Florida City

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A looming plan to slash EMS services in a Florida city has some first responders up in arms.

Firefighters in Largo are urging the city administration to stop supporting the new plan, which is intended to increase EMS efficiency and free up EMS resources for more serious emergency calls.

If they fail to persuade them, the changes will go into effect June 1, 2013.

The way the current EMS system works, most calls for medical assistance are automatically responded to. A team of 2-4 paramedics/firefighters respond to the scene to provide immediate assistance. An ambulance with two more paramedics is also dispatched to transport the victim to a medical facility, if needed. In almost all emergency situations, firefighters must be at the scene within 7.5 minutes.

The way the new plan will work, certain low-level calls for emergency medical services will only cause the dispatch of a single ambulance, rather than the full armada. That ambulance will also be given twice as much time to show at the scene.

For their part, firefighters will still be notified of these “low-level” calls. However, local administration will decide whether or not the firefighters should respond to the call.

Low-Level Emergencies?

When we speak of low-level calls, we could be talking about many different things, and therein lies the basis for some of the objections EMS professionals have raised.

If you’ve worked in the EMS field, you probably have some idea of what these calls could include. Low-level emergency calls could be anything from hiccups to falls.

What happens if a caller to emergency services misreports or leaves details out? It happens all the time. The unfortunate truth is that the potential for a serious, life-threatening call to be misinterpreted or misunderstood as a “low-level” call, at the very least, exists.

In a situation like this, who is benefiting and who is simply receiving the short end of the stick? Please give us some input below.

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