The first 7 years of the metropolitan fire brigade emergency responder program – an overview of incidents attended
Malcolm J Boyle1, Brett Williams1, Colin Bibby2, Allan Morton2, Chris Huggins1
1Department of Community Emergency Health and Paramedic Practice, Monash University, Frankston, Victoria, Australia; 2Emergency Medical Services, Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board, Richmond, Victoria, Australia
Purpose: The Melbourne Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board (MFESB) was the first fire service in Australia to implement a service-wide emergency medical response (EMR) program in 2001. No additional scientific analysis of the first responder program has been reported since the pilot program. The objective of this study was to report the first 7 years of responses by firefighters as first responders.
Patients and methods: The MFESB have three separate datasets with cardiac arrest information: (i) callout record; (ii) patient care record; and (iii) cardiac arrest record, including data from the automatic external defibrillator. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the demographic and specific outcome data. Ethics approval was granted.
Results: A total of 8227 incidents were attended over the first 7 years. The most incidents attended were cardiac arrest 54% (n = 4450) followed by other medical 19% (n = 1579), and drug overdose 11% (n = 908); the remainder were <10% each. Sixty-three percent of incidents involved males. Average age was 57.2 years, median age 63 years, range from <1 month to 101 years; average response time was 6.1 minutes, median response time 5.6 minutes, range from 9 seconds to 31.5 minutes. Firefighters provided “initial care” in 57% and assisted in 26% of the incidents. Firefighters spent on average 4.8 minutes with the patient before handing over to paramedics; median 3.9 minutes, range of a few seconds to 39.2 minutes.
Conclusion: This study suggests that the MFESB EMR program is providing firefighter first responders to emergency situations in a short timeframe to assist the ambulance service.
Keywords: emergency medical services, fire department, cardiac arrest, first responder
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