TEMS Prepares for Worst-Case Scenarios

Monday, May 14, 2012 - 3:40am

City of Madison Fire Department paramedics respond to thousands of emergency medical calls each year, providing Advanced Life Support (ALS), pre-hospital care.

Each call presents its own set of challenges, but some calls require an additional level of training above and beyond the thousands of hours of medical training paramedics receive.

It's a little-known fact that City of Madison paramedics are often called to stand by during law enforcement activities that may put police officers at increased risk. It could be during an incident such as a standoff or hostage situation. Sometimes, it's when a warrant is served on a suspect known to be violent.

The purpose of this procedure is to have paramedics nearby in the event of injuries. The MFD formed a Tactical Emergency Medical Services Team (TEMS) in 2007, to make specially-trained paramedics available on such calls. Members of TEMS train with police to better understand police operations so paramedics can stage closer to the action, ready to respond immediately to any injuries.

The MFD currently has 10 TEMS-trained medics. Eight of them, and the Department's Associate Medical Director attended a class last week developed by Waukesha County Technical College to increase their level of readiness. They, with 24 other participants, completed the class on Saturday, May 12 with live exercises at the former Rodeway Inn, 4916 East Broadway in Madison.

The training was funded through a Wisconsin Hospital Emergency Preparedness grant.

WCTC ‘s Tactical EMS training class is one of the few places in the state that is offering this type of training. The course integrates military and emergency medicine into SWAT teams and high threat police responses and trains fire department paramedics to operate in dangerous tactical situations, where they would not normally go. Medics are taught how to care for victims while under the threat of gunfire and how to provide lifesaving tactical emergency medical care.

Photos from the training may be found on the City of Madison Fire Department Facebook page.


  • Lori Wirth(608) 266-5947