This month we are going to dive into the departments call volume for 2013. I am going to provide you with the numbers of responses by month for this past year.
In a 2013 blog here on the PATCH we provided not only the total number of calls but a breakdown of calls by call type. This way it gives you a clear understanding of not just the total number of call we are doing but a break down by month and by call type.
But, before we get to the numbers it is necessary for you to understand the call types. Generally speaking we respond to fire and medical related (EMS) calls. As you will soon learn those two general categories are then broken down into many sub categories. This is done for a varied of reasons. Primarily, calls are broken down so we can assure that each and every call is clearly defined so we can send the right resources that are needed for the specific call.
If your house is on fire you don’t want just a rescue truck arriving. Conversely, if you call 911 for a medical related call you don’t want three fire engines showing up. I clearly understand that when you call 911 you are not concerned with our call screening process. The concern you have is you need help, you call 911, and you want a timely efficient response with someone who can help you. You want to hang up the phone turn your outside light on, open your door and see the fire department pulling up to help you! We look at it a little different.
Not only do we want a timely efficient response we want the right personnel to arrive that can help your specific incident. This division of calls is also necessary so we can preserve resources so every call is covered when someone calls 911.
As a public service department we must make sure we match each and every response with the appropriate resource. We don’t have the luxury of telling someone who calls 911 “ok we are a little busy. We will send someone tomorrow between 8 and 2 p.m. to help you”. Sending the appropriate resource is very straight forward for most of our calls. But many times it’s challenging for our 911 telecommunicators.
This highlights the necessity for our telecommunicators to be well trained. Without their ability to properly screen all calls you may not get the appropriate help when you need it. The medical calls are the more complex calls to screen to determine the appropriate response. This is true because as a fire department we respond to the basic life support (BLS) and the advanced life support (ALS) ability. Basically, if you need a paramedic we want to make sure you receive a Paramedic and not an emergency medical technician (EMT).
The medical call screening process is outlined and defined through legislation. The state of CT has legislation that requires all 911 answering points to utilize emergency medical dispatch. State legislation requires we utilize a scripted call screening process. There are three private companies that provide the materials and training. Here in East Haven we utilize the National Academy of Emergency Medical Dispatch protocol. This protocol outlines the questions and continues moving the call in specific directions based on the answers to the questions asked. The answer also prompts the response of either ALS or BLS and a light and siren response or a non-light and siren response.
Medical emergencies are broken down into nine call types; 33 Card, Omega, Alpha, Bravo, Bravo ALS, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Lift Assists.
Here are a few examples of each call type; 33 Card (Interfacility Transport) – any call from an extended care facility, nurses facility, doctors office or palliative care facility for any patient currently being cared for by a medical professional and they require additional care, diagnostics or evaluation at a different medical facility
Omega Medical – Medical call with the lowest priority such as rash, toothache, catheter problems, which requires a BLS response with no lights or siren.
Alpha Medical – Minor medical or trauma call requiring a BLS response with no lights or siren.
Bravo Medical – Medical or trauma call with a higher priority requiring BLS response with lights and siren.
Bravo Medical ALS – Medical or trauma call with a higher priority requiring ALS response with lights and siren.
Charlie Medical – Medical call with an even higher priority such as a heart attack, altered mental status, stroke, breathing problems requiring ALS response with lights and siren.
Delta Medical – Medical call with an even higher priority such as unconscious patient, diabetic, fall victim down flight of stairs or from heights requiring ALS response with lights and siren.
Echo Medical – Medical call with the highest priority such as cardiac arrests, requiring ALS response with lights and siren.
I will not break down each fire related response as many as self explanatory. However, there are a few that require further explanation.
Fire Watch – anytime where a fire detection or suppression system is not operational or where a larger crowd will be gathered and it is determined by the Fire Marshal where a firefighter must be present to offer a level of safety to those in attendance
Alerts – Alerts are calls associated with aircraft that take place on or off the airport property. The calls are divided into three categories:
Alert 1 – In flight emergency where both East Haven and New Haven Fire Departments are both notified to stand by and be ready in quarters, in case a response is needed.
Alert 2 – In flight emergency where both East Haven and New Haven Fire Departments are both notified to respond to the air field at a predetermined staging area.
Alert 3 – aircraft related crash on the airport property Public assists – there is a large variety of calls that can fall into this category. Most of these calls are assisting the public in any way that is needed and to assist other town or state agencies.
Pump Outs – basement pump out of water greater then 6”
Signal 10 – when a volunteer company stands by in their station do to calls in another district
Still Response – One engine to various types of calls non-emergency fire related calls, no lights or sirens.
Water Emergency – An active leak into a living space (i.e. water heater or pipe break) Water Rescue – Any call related to any body of water (Lake, Pond, Long Island Sound) that will require our cold water rescue suits or marine units.
Welfare Check – Check on neighbors or family members that haven’t been heard or seen from.
The East Haven Fire Departments call volume represents what we have all seen for many years. Each year our call volume rises!
Today we are doing more calls with the same personnel that we have had since 1988 when we added two firefighters to each shift.
When this personnel was added our call volume was 2600 per year compared to the 6504 calls we did in 2013.
Today, the firefighters of East Haven are constantly busy with today’s standards in training, vehicle and equipment up-keep, station duties, pre-plans, hydrant maintenance, hose testing, ladder testing and pump testing to name a few.
Additionally, add in the types of calls we respond to and the sheer number of calls per day the men and women of this department work very hard twenty fours a day 7 days a week protecting the lives of those who reside, visit and pass through our town. I hope you have enjoyed the time put into this month’s blog!
As you can see once again there is much more behind the operations of the East Haven Fire Department then meets the eye.