Volunteer Squads

JCyrus

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I don't know if this has been discussed before, but a quick search didn't find anything, and I figured it was worth posting again.

Anyway, in my county in Western PA, there are very few squads with volunteers. Most of the ambulance companies are just that, companies and so they run ALS crews 24 hours a day. Quite a few of the squads are established non-profits, but I think only two in the whole county take volunteers. And even then, the volunteers are not running their own rigs, they are generally supplementing the paid staff by helping out the real medics.

Anyway, I was wondering how EMS squads were run in other parts of the state and the country. More specifically, how is your volunteer squad run.

Do you guys have people in the station, or even like driving around in ambulances, on shifts or are they responding to the station in POV's? And if they're responding in POV's what are your basic procedures regarding that, (ie. how do you keep ten guys from coming to the station to roll out on just some random call)

Any and all responses would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance.
 

Jon

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Here in Chester County, we have everything from 24x7 paid only (Industrial fire Brigades) to 24x7 paid staff to supplement vollies, to daytime paid staff, to no paid staff. Some stations have FireFighter/EMT's as their paid staff, some only have EMT's.

One of my squads (5 BLS rigs) has 2 crews paid daytime (one 0600-1600, one 0800-1800) with a supervisor paid 0600-2400. Daytime staffing is suplemented by the supervisor and office staff for 3rd, 4th, 5th call in district. Nightime 1800-0600/0700 is staffed entirely by vollies, except for the supervisor, (in station 1800-2400, on call 1800-0600/0700). Vollies run from station 1800-2400, can run from home on midnights, so long as they respond within 4 minutes of dispatch.

Weekends staff 0700-1800 4+supervisor 0700-2400.

My other squad has 24x7 2 staff provided by township. 10a-6p on weekdays there is usually another township employee. All are full FF/EMT's, cover BLS ambulance, Fire suppression, and rescue. Ambulance division pays for a full time employee 0700-1500. Vollies respond to station for fire and MVAs, carrer staff take Ambulance 99% of time, responding in under 2 minutes. Medica calls, Driver/EMT's will go to scene and 1 staff member will take EMS member's car back to station to be availible for fire calls.

Jon
 

TTLWHKR

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Works just like a volunteer fire company/department, whatever you call it. Pager goes off, we go to the station, get the ambulance, and respond to the scene. I'm not a member of any volly squads here in Potter; but back home we did just that. Every crew member lived w/ in a mile of the station. So there was no lengthy response times, in fact we debated stationing the trucks on different streets so we would only be hundreds of feet away from them. But that was shot down by the fact that there was no need for three EMS stations. No need for a paid crew, we had our own way of training people, special training requirements; you can actually get a special DOH certification for drivers that sort of rests between FR & EMT-B. So a legal crew could be just one EMT, and an Ambulance Attendant. But usually there was a dozen people that showed up for every call. Now, if everyone could get that out of a volunteer squad, that'd be awesome. But unfortunatly, too many people don't think the necessary training is worth it for free.

We did schedules for holidays, events, or when people would be leaving town. Always made sure there were three crews since we did Rescue and EMS.

They didn't have any paid crews at home, and even had a funeral home that still had an ambulance.

I don't know what they have here.. I haven't <Knock on Wood> needed an ambulance yet.
 

rescuecpt

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Originally posted by JCHobbes@May 25 2005, 06:51 PM
And even then, the volunteers are not running their own rigs, they are generally supplementing the paid staff by helping out the real medics.
Wow, I hope you didn't mean that sentence as it sounds. I'm very real, and my friends are very real... at least, last time I checked...


If the vollies walked out tomorrow, there would be lots of very dead people on Long Island.
 

ECC

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Can you define Real?

I have met plenty of Volunteers with as much experience, expertise, and love for this job!

Pay has very little to do with ability, and that phrase, 'real medics', is somewhat demeaning to those who are not getting paid.

BTW, I am paid and a member of the IAFF, and I still do not agree with their anti volunteer sentiment (except as a labor issue).
 

emtbuff

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Off of my volley squad which is made of about 20 people we have only 2 that are only drivers all they need are CPR certification and a drivers liscense. WE like mentioned before have like 3 EMTI and the Rest are basics. We all have pagers a meeting once a month and are scheduled to have three people on call at all times and holiday scedule is done and special events is up to who wants to go.
 

cbdemt

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Our dept is volly fire & EMS. We all carry pagers and most respond to the station. A few of us (myself included) live either on the outskirts of the district, or slightly out of district - we usually respond directly to the scene. The rule of thumb is that if you have to drive by a scene to get to the station, go ahead and stop. Most of us that live far from the station carry gear in our POV's. Seems to work well, we're never short handed on scene. Once the trucks/command is onscene they will have dispatch put out a page when there is enough help so any others enroute in POVs can disreguard. Thats about it for us.


PS. I'm real too! :)
 

rescuecpt

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At the Firehouse (we do fire & EMS) the sirens go off around the neighborhood and we get paged at the same time. Chiefs & Rescue officers go to the scene, all other personnel go to the Firehouse. We drill 3 times a month (usually) and have a department meeting every month. We have roughly 80 - 100 calls a year, have 65 members, 12 of which are EMTS (2 medics, 3 critical care, 7 basics). We usually have ALS on every call, but have an arrangement for intercepts with a neighboring department as well.

At the Ambulance Corps we are staffed in-house 24 hours a day with at least 1 ALS crew, but usually 1 ALS and 1 BLS. Sometimes we even have 2 ALS crews. We page for assistance & standbys after the first or second simultaneous call, depending on the types of calls and time of day. We run 3,600 EMS calls a year, train 1x per month (mandatory0 with additional opportunities throughout the month, and 1 department meeting a month.

Ain't nothing un-real about any of us. Although sometimes some of us feel like the un-dead, but that's different. :)
 

KEVD18

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i'm sure jc didnt mean "real" as you guys are taking it. just a verbal slip

btw: i'm paid so i dont have much experience with the vollie side of things
 
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JCyrus

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Originally posted by rescuecpt+May 26 2005, 08:03 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (rescuecpt @ May 26 2005, 08:03 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-JCHobbes@May 25 2005, 06:51 PM
And even then, the volunteers are not running their own rigs, they are generally supplementing the paid staff by helping out the real medics.
Wow, I hope you didn't mean that sentence as it sounds. I'm very real, and my friends are very real... at least, last time I checked...


If the vollies walked out tomorrow, there would be lots of very dead people on Long Island. [/b][/quote]
Sorry if I struck a chord with the wording there.

By "real medics" I was intending to mean certified paramedics (as in ALS crew), as opposed to EMTs. I really didn't intend to offend any of you.



I know one person said that their company sends out two pages, one to tell people to come and another to tell them to stop coming, but how do you keep the whole membership from coming out.

I keep picturing the local volunteer fire department that will have two dozen guys out on a small fender bender that didn't even need 911 assistance in the first place...
 

rescuecpt

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Sorry if I struck a chord with the wording there.

By "real medics" I was intending to mean certified paramedics (as in ALS crew), as opposed to EMTs. I really didn't intend to offend any of you.



I know one person said that their company sends out two pages, one to tell people to come and another to tell them to stop coming, but how do you keep the whole membership from coming out.

I keep picturing the local volunteer fire department that will have two dozen guys out on a small fender bender that didn't even need 911 assistance in the first place... [/QUOTE]
That's where the officers come into play. I send FF's/extra EMTs back to the house if the scene is secured and I have enough hands. We also don't roll every truck to everything. There ARE protocols in place for vollies.

And remember, on the subject of certified medics vs EMTs... BLS before ALS - yeah, ALS helps a lot, but BLS is key. And this is coming from a certified ALS provider.
 

rescuecpt

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PS - don't take this the wrong way, JC, but maybe when you're old enough to be part of a volunteer or paid crew you'll understand the way things work a little better.
 

ECC

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Originally posted by JCHobbes@May 26 2005, 06:35 PM
I keep picturing the local volunteer fire department that will have two dozen guys out on a small fender bender that didn't even need 911 assistance in the first place...
We send out one Engine company with 3 members (two of which are Paramedics--me and the Boss, in my company's case), and one Medic (an ALS Ambulance) staffed by 2, one Paramedic and 1 EMT. All of our members are certified to at least the EMT level.

I have to ask, who is to make the determination who or what is needed prior to arriving onscene? The Police? Most of them are less interested in what we need to do than you could ever imagine...those who are, really are a godsend!

When I volunteered (oh lo those many years ago...and was still working my paid Paramedic job) I would be happy to see 2 dozen members available if I needed them. Radios work wonders to keep apparatus in quarters or to slow them down to non-emergent.

I am not in favor of all members going to the scene.

Like I said before pay has little to do with expertise and ability. EMT's are as real as Paramedics...ask rescuecpt...she will tell you of paramedics who are 'wanting' in skill, drive, expertise or ability.
 

emt/fr

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Our dept has a fulltime paid staff from 6am to 4pm. Nights are all paid volunteer. We get a little each month just for being on call, plus an hourly wage for each call, and paid for the monthly meeting. Plus a few bucks for each standby. Six call teams of 4 people each, teams A-F. So we are on call evey sixth night. The first three emt's that get to the station go. As far as the fire side goes it's a free for all whoever shows up first goes. Holidays and weekend days is a free for all for everyone. whoever shows up first goes on the call . It is very rare occurence that we need to call neighboring depts for mutual aid because we don't have enough personel. I think we had one call for mutual aid last year that was because both of our meds were out on a 1050.
We are a BLS service only but have ALS intercepts with the local hospitals.
 
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JCyrus

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Originally posted by rescuecpt@May 26 2005, 06:47 PM
PS - don't take this the wrong way, JC, but maybe when you're old enough to be part of a volunteer or paid crew you'll understand the way things work a little better.
No offense taken.

I really don't intend on joining until after high school. I've found out that my school's athletic department has a student athletic trainer program, and I've signed up for that. It sounds pretty almost like a "ride-along" with the trainer, basically acting as a gopher, but it's still sort of experience.

I was just interested in how volunteer squads actually worked, because as I mentioned almost all the ambulance companies around here hire are paid, and they hire only paramedics.
 

Jon

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Originally posted by rescuecpt+May 26 2005, 09:03 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (rescuecpt @ May 26 2005, 09:03 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-JCHobbes@May 25 2005, 06:51 PM
And even then, the volunteers are not running their own rigs, they are generally supplementing the paid staff by helping out the real medics.
Wow, I hope you didn't mean that sentence as it sounds. I'm very real, and my friends are very real... at least, last time I checked...


If the vollies walked out tomorrow, there would be lots of very dead people on Long Island. [/b][/quote]
Some squads around here are the same way... paid MICU (EMT+EMT-P, Transport Capable) with vollies putting up a BLS squad, only playing on BLS runs, and just generally getting jammed up by the paid staff, who could care less if there were or were not there.

Stinks, but happens.

Jon
 

rescuecpt

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We have 1 paid medic on duty from 0000-1900 Monday through Friday, and Saturday 0000-0700.

The ideal is to have them available as a first responder at all times, so if it's a BLS call, they don't ride, the vollies ride (they show up, assess, and then return to HQ). If it's an ALS call, the vollie ALS providers (like me) ride, and the paid medic returns to base. If it's an ALS call with no vollie ALS provider, the paid medic rides.

In my experiences at the Corps (I say this because Medic03 is one of the paid providers and he is the bestest, but I don't ride w/him), I don't normally sign up for shifts where there is a paid medic because I don't see why I should donate my time & skills while they get paid to do the same thing, and don't even end up riding the call half the time because I'm there. So I stick to un-covered shifts, evenings 1900-2400 and weekends, like my usual shift, Saturday 0700-1300. I do ride the paid medic shifts sometimes when there aren't enough crew members available to get an ambulance out, but I prefer not to.
 

Jon

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Originally posted by rescuecpt@May 27 2005, 09:23 AM
the vollies ride (they show up, assess, and then return to HQ
Ok.... Had to re-read that twice....

Nice you folks have the vollies to get a rig out in the middle of a Wedensday...


Jon
 

rescuecpt

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Originally posted by MedicStudentJon+May 27 2005, 08:28 AM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (MedicStudentJon @ May 27 2005, 08:28 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-rescuecpt@May 27 2005, 09:23 AM
the vollies ride (they show up, assess, and then return to HQ
Ok.... Had to re-read that twice....

Nice you folks have the vollies to get a rig out in the middle of a Wedensday...


Jon [/b][/quote]
That's why we have duty crews. We have a schedule online, when people can't come in they fill out a form online (or call dispatch to fill it out for them), it notivies the crew assignment officer, who updates the schedule. Suddenly parts of the grid turn red indicating a critical need for a crewmember at that time - we check into the schedule occasionally and then call in and say we'll cover one of the criticals. We page out when needed, but we always prefer to have a full crew or two in-house at all times.

It works pretty well, year to date we have handled 98.66% of our own calls (only mutual aided 1.34% of our calls).

For a skeleton crew we have dispatcher, driver, paid medic... but we usually have some of our retirees and housewives/husbands, as well as 'attendants' which is what we call the CPR & first aid trained probies. College kids are great, they all have weird schedules and a lot of them ride during the day when they don't have class.

Also, our housemen are all trained dipatchers, so they can fill in when needed. I'm trying to post our crewboard so you can see what I mean, but I'm not sure if it will work.
 

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Jon

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Originally posted by rescuecpt@May 27 2005, 10:27 AM
College kids are great, they all have weird schedules and a lot of them ride during the day when they don't have class.
Except when they go home for the summer... we feel that crunch every year at the vollie squad. Luckly we have a few members who grew up in the area who we see back over the summer and they run.

Jon
 
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