The Meridian Fire Department provides a multitude of services to the community- one of those services is to provide medical care to persons in need.
The Meridian Fire Department has a long history of providing EMS (emergency medical services) to the community, dating back as far as 1977 with the development of Rescue One. At the time, personnel on Rescue One provided basic life support to the patient until an ambulance staffed with paramedics arrived on location.
In 2005, the fire department hired their first paramedics and today we are staffed with 20 paramedics who provide advanced life support and 34 EMT’s who provide basic life support. Except on rare occasion, each of our five stations will have a paramedic on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The combination of having advanced life support and basic life support personnel on a medical emergency works extremely well as each individual plays a vital role to ensure the quality of care the patient is receiving is at the highest level.
To keep all of our responders functioning at an optimal level, we strive to produce an education and training program that goes beyond what is expected. Last year, all of our members combined received more than 2900 hours of EMS training. In addition to that training our responders have been involved with joint agency training, equipment evaluation trials, teaching CPR and other EMS related classes, as well as establishing carbon monoxide oximetry guidelines that the State of Idaho is in the process of adopting. The Meridian Fire Department is truly becoming known as a premier EMS response agency.
One of the questions we get asked frequently is “why do I get a fire truck and an ambulance when I call 911”- The Meridian Fire Department is a non-transporting agency, meaning we cannot transport patients to the hospital. We rely on the cooperation and collaboration of our allied transport agency, Ada County Paramedics. When they arrive on location, the crews of both agencies integrate to ensure the patient receives the best care possible and is transported to an emergency room for definitive care.
Another question we get asked is “will I get a bill for your service?”- Although we do not bill the patient for an EMS response, our operation is supported through property tax dollars. We understand this, and are always striving to make sure our response is efficient, effective, and at a level of quality and professionalism that you, the tax-payer expect.
Lastly, “how does somebody become an EMT or paramedic?”- Doing a simple Google search for “EMT Classes in Idaho” or “paramedic programs in Idaho” will get you started down the right path (the fire department does not endorse one program over another).
If you have any questions about EMS and/or the Meridian Fire Department, please contact Deputy Chief Mark Niemeyer @ 489-0451 or Chief Ron Anderson @ 489-0453.