The city of Scottsdale and its fire department further galvanized its public safety priorities on Dec. 5 by awarding an ambulance transportation contract to Maricopa Ambulance. Maricopa Ambulance represents a company that shares the fire department’s vision of the highest quality of out-of-hospital emergency care.
It is the fire department’s responsibility to provide citizens with the most effective and efficient emergency medical care and service. The partnership with Maricopa Ambulance maintains this service.
How? By ensuring the life-saving practice of continuity of care. The Scottsdale Fire Department deploys highly skilled and experienced paramedics and EMTs to each call as the direct patient care provider.
Each department fire engine and ladder truck are staffed with two paramedics, who are trained to provide advanced life support. Those units are also staffed with EMTs who are trained to provide basic life support. This combination of medical professionals is equipped and trained to ensure every patient receives the best available care.
The same staffing can be found in fire departments throughout our region. When a person calls 911 anywhere within the Valley, the fire-based EMS system dispatches the closest fire truck, regardless of city boundaries. This automatic aid system reduces response times — a critical factor in many health emergencies.
In almost every case a fire department unit is first on scene to an incident, delivering a team of emergency medical experts when and where they are needed. Members of these teams stay with the patient during an incident right up to the critical transition to hospital caregivers.
Many municipalities throughout the automatic aid system contract with private ambulance companies to provide transportation during emergencies. These transportation units can be staffed with either paramedics or EMTs and usually arrive after fire units are on scene.
In Scottsdale, a city firefighter paramedic will attend each patient during transportation from the incident location to the hospital. This standard ensures continuity of care — and a seamless transfer of the patient to hospital staff.
The potential risk of inconsistencies in patient care and treatment during transport and hand off to the emergency department is eliminated by this staffing model.
This method of continuity of care has been used in Scottsdale since 2010. It is based on medical evidence that demonstrates consistency in care from start to finish is critical to positive patient outcomes in the emergency room and hospital stay.
Dr. Chip Finch, the Scottsdale Fire Department’s medical director, assures that the quality of patient care provided by all city paramedics and EMTs meets the highest standards.
“The ability to provide high quality, effective hand-off communication regarding patient care is of critical importance and is cited in numerous medical journals,” Dr. Finch reports. “Studies show that nearly one in 10 patients may be adversely affected as the result of poor patient care communication between EMS and receiving hospitals.
“Timely and effective communication between EMS and receiving hospitals has the potential to save lives and improve time sensitive patient therapies.”
The Scottsdale Fire Department prides itself on being a premier pre-hospital care provider. Our partnership with Maricopa Ambulance will maintain that critical service when the contract takes effect Feb. 17, 2018. We look forward to working with Maricopa Ambulance in our combined mission of caring for the citizens and visitors of Scottsdale.
Editor’s note: Tom Shannon is the Scottsdale Fire Chief.