New EMS Study Demonstrates How First
Responder Crew Sizes and Paramedic Crew Configuration Influence
Emergency Medical Response
Washington, D.C. – A new study issued today by a broad coalition
in the scientific, firefighting, EMS, and public-safety
communities shows that the size and configuration of an EMS
first responder crew and an advanced life support (ALS) crew
have a substantial effect on a fire department’s ability to
respond to calls for emergency medical service.
Performed by a broad coalition in the scientific, fire fighting
and public safety communities, the study shows substantial
differences associated with first responder crew size.
The new study is the first attempt to investigate the effects of
varying crew configurations for first responders, the apparatus
assignment of ALS personnel, and the number of ALS personnel on
scene on the task completion times for ALS level incidents.
The increasing number of EMS responses point to the need for
scientifically based studies to measure the operational
efficiency and effectiveness of fire departments responding to
medical calls. Fire departments typically deliver
first-on-scene, out-of-hospital care services, regardless of
whether or not they provide transport. The design of fire-based
EMS systems varies across communities. Some departments deploy
only Basic Life Support (BLS) units and personnel, some deploy a
mix of BLS and Advanced Life Support (ALS) units and personnel,
and a few departments operate solely at an ALS level.But this
study emphasizes that every one of those system design decisions
affects emergency medical response and care when each second
The study’s principal investigators were NIST’s Jason Averill,
Lori Moore-Merrell of the International Association of Fire
Fighters and Kathy Notarianni of Worcester Polytechnic
Institute. Other organizations participating in this research
include the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the
Commission on Fire Accreditation International-RISK, the Urban
Institute and the University of North Carolina.
The report was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland
Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA)
Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.
The study can be downloaded from the partner websites or may be
requested from any of the study partner organizations. The
report is also available at
or on the IAFF
The International Association of Fire Fighters, headquartered in
Washington, DC, is the leading advocate in North America for the
safety and training of fire fighters and paramedics. The IAFF
represents more than 298,000 full-time professional fire
fighters and paramedics who protect communities in every state
in the United States and throughout Canada. More information is
available at www.iaff.org.