Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
All City of Madison Fire Department firefighters are trained at the Wisconsin Emergency Medical Technician - Basic level to support medical calls and to provide basic life support at incidents. In addition, there are currently more than 90 paramedics trained to provide Advanced Life Support to patients. All paramedics are trained as firefighters as well.
Each day, eight medics (or ambulances) are in service, each staffed by two paramedics. Medics are located at Station 1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. On any given day and throughout the year, the medics are the busiest units in the City of Madison Fire Department. In 2008, rescues responded to more than 19,500 medical calls, or on average, 54 medical calls per day. This accounts for 80% of total emergency responses within the City annually.
In addition to responding to all emergency medical calls in the city, medics also respond to structure fires and other fire-related incidents to assist in performing fire ground operations such as fire suppression.
Firefighters go through rigorous training to become Firefighter Paramedics. More than nine months are spent in training before individuals are eligible for National Registry exams and State of Wisconsin Licensure. Once licensed, paramedics complete the American Heart Association's Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Advance Cardiac Life Support and Pediatric Advanced Life Support courses and the American Academy of Pediatrics Pediatric Education for Prehospital Providers program. In addition, all paramedics work closely with the fire crews and the Training Division to assure the highest quality medical care is provided by all Department members.
The paramedics train at the University of Wisconsin (UW) Hospital in the emergency and operating rooms, reviewing procedures and protocol for which they are required to operate within. Division Chief Richard Kinkade is the Logistics and Medical Affairs Manager for the Department.
The EMS system operates under a formal set of treatment protocols, treatment plans developed by the Department's Medical Director Dr. Christian Zuver.
The current MFD/Dane County ALS protocols are utilized by all municipal paramedic agencies in Dane County and are a cornerstone to state of the art patient care.
County-wide ALS Agreement
As part of the Dane County EMS System, the Madison Fire Department works closely with all EMS services. This consortium of ALS providers assures Dane County residents of a consistent level of care for the most serious type of calls based on the Priority Medical Dispatch System. Through a county-wide agreement, the closest paramedic unit is assigned to specific calls.
Under this agreement, ALS care is provided by the closest available ALS ambulance as determined by Priority Medical Dispatch without regard to jurisdictional boundaries. While it sometimes means that ambulances will travel greater distances, it also ensures that patients need not wait until a nearby ambulance becomes available.
The initial agreement was piloted in 2004. Its successful implementation let to formalized acceptance by all partners in May of 2008.