Emergency Medical Services
Since the mid 1970's the Sanger Fire Department has provided high quality prehospital services to its citizens. In 1981, the Department initiated a paramedic program which now serves as a model for much of Fresno County. The challenge emergency medical service (EMS) providers face is to make important, sometimes critical decisions with a limited amount of time and information. Below you will find a summary concerning your EMS system.
The EMS program is administered through the Fire Department and as a result, all EMS personnel are also professional firefighters experienced in a variety of specialized skills, such as; swiftwater and confined space rescue, extrication, high and low angle rope rescue, technical rescue and the suppression and confinement of hazardous materials. All firefighters are specifically trained as either Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s) or Paramedics. Currently, over half of the Department is trained to the Paramedic level. Each member of the Department is required by the State of California and Fresno County to complete at least 24 hours of continuing education for EMT’s and 48 hours for Paramedics every two years. The required training for EMS providers is normally medically-based, and keeps the members of the Department abreast of industry changes and advances in prehospital medicine.
The Sanger Fire Department requires at least two Paramedics on duty at all times. Currently, the Department provides two ambulances staffed with at least one Paramedic on each ambulance. Additionally, the Department places a Paramedic on the fire engine to provide care when both ambulances are committed to other calls. This ensures rapid arrival of Advanced Life Support (ALS) to each medical emergency.
The boundary for the Paramedic ambulances is not limited to the City of Sanger. Currently, the Department provides ALS support to approximately 130 square miles of eastern Fresno County.
The public’s demand for emergency medical services has steadily increased over the years and represents approximately 80% of the Department’s call volume. In 2011, the Department received over 2,800 medical aid requests. A ten-year comparison shows that in 2002 ambulance calls totaled 1,859 showing a 34% increase in the last 10 years. Also in 2011 the Fire Department averaged an enroute to call time of 4.6 minutes, keeping well below the national average of eight minutes.
The Fresno County Medical Director is responsible for all medical aspects of prehospital patient care. The Medical Director has the authority to approve the level of prehospital care which may be rendered by EMT’s and Paramedics within the County of Fresno, as well as establish and monitor compliance with field performance guidelines and training standards.
Paramedics and EMT’s adhere to treatment policies and procedures developed by the Medical Director and the Central California Emergency Medical Services Authority. Paramedics operate under a set of guidelines called standing orders. Normally, Paramedics treat most patients under standing orders and do not generally need any other orders or assistance. However, Paramedics do maintain direct medical control with an assigned Base Hospital Physician at all times who can assist in making treatment and transport destination decisions in the event a situation falls outside of the set standing orders.
The Fire Chief is ultimately responsible for the EMS Division with the direct assistance of the Paramedic Liaison Officer. These individuals provide direct day-to-day oversight of the EMS delivery system for the Sanger Fire Department and are responsible for the operations and maintenance of EMS, quality assurance, emergency medical training, complaint disposition, fiscal management, and compliance with all polices, orders, and procedures.
The scope and complexity of medical services provided by Paramedics continues to evolve, with Paramedics providing many critical interventions that were once only available in the hospital setting. The EMS Division of the Department is dedicated to staying up to date and current on all EMS issues in the Central Valley area and the Sanger Fire Department is frequently called upon for precepting and teaching new Paramedic students, creating new policies and implementing new procedures that will be used throughout the Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare county area.
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Central Califrnia Emergency Medical Services Agency