Why does a fire truck come to my house when I called for an ambulance?
The first reason has to do with having enough staffing to take care of the patient. In Northbrook all of our firefighters are cross-trained as paramedics. There are two cross-trained firefighter/paramedics on the ambulance and typically three personnel on the fire truck/engine. Many times when someone is very sick they need advanced life support (ALS) care. ALS treatment includes starting Intravenous (IV) fluids, monitoring cardiac rhythms, providing oxygen, administering medications, possibly performing CPR, and/or defibrillating a patient. National standards recommend four personnel for ALS incidents.

The next reason to have extra personnel from the fire truck/engine has to do with helping to safely move the patient to the ambulance. Most people that are so sick that they need an ambulance need to be carried on a cot. If the bedroom is on the second floor, or if there are steps outside the house, it may take more than two people to safely get the patient down the steps.

The third reason for sending a fire truck/engine on an ambulance call is if the closest ambulance is busy and unavailable. Again, the people on the fire truck/engine are also paramedics and carry the same ALS medical equipment as an ambulance, and they can begin care before the ambulance arrives.

Show All Answers

1. Why do we have so many, or so few, firefighters showing up at a house fire?
2. Will you take me to the hospital of my choice during an emergency?
3. Why does a fire truck come to my house when I called for an ambulance?
4. What should I do after dialing 911 for a medical emergency?
5. What should I do if there is a fire in my home?