Emergency Medical Services

THE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES DIVISION PROVIDES clinical oversight and analyzes department performance on medical aid calls through a Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program.

EMS Division staff work with the Training Division to conduct education and training programs. Insurance and billing information is utilized to bill insurance and third-party payors.

Each East Pierce fire engine, aid car and medic unit is staffed with firefighter-emergency medical technician (EMT) and firefighter-paramedics. EMTs provide basic emergency care including splinting, bandaging, spinal immobilization, oxygen and airway management, and automated defibrillation.

The EMTs work in conjunction with the paramedics to prepare patients for transport. A paramedic has additional medical training to stabilize a critically ill or injured patient at the scene before transporting him or her to a hospital.

Paramedics are certified to administer medications and intravenous fluids, insert breathing tubes and defibrillate patients. At East Pierce, each staffed station always includes at least one firefighter trained as a paramedic.

East Pierce units handled 7,085 EMS incidents in 2015—an average of 19.4 EMS-related incidents per day—and transported 5,134 patients to area hospitals—an average 14 patients per day.

The overall number of EMS calls is predicted to increase in coming years because of an aging population, who will have higher 9-1-1 utilization rates, and due to an increasing shortage of primary care physicians, which results in many people simply calling 9-1-1 and going to the Emergency Department when they can’t see their own doctor. The Affordable Care Act which provides expanded health insurance coverage could also result in increased use of 9-1-1 and the EMS system.

No out-of-pocket expense to residents

We staff four medic units and have two reserve aid units, all capable of transporting patients. To provide better continuity of care, East Pierce began providing ambulance services to residents in 2004. Unlike private ambulances, this service is offered for no “out-of-pocket” expense for patients who are district residents.

Contact our Emergency Medical Billing Services department for questions regarding notices or invoices related to ambulance services. 

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