Emergency Medical Services

THE EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES DIVISION provides clinical direction, medical oversight and support for the department’s Emergency Medical Service (EMS) operations. EMS performance is analyzed through a quality improvement (QI) program. EMS Division staff work with the Training Division to coordinate and deliver EMS-related education and training. Insurance and billing information is used to bill health insurance companies and other third-party payers.

Emergency medical service call volume continues to increase and now make up nearly 75% of all 9-1-1 calls handled by East Pierce Fire and Rescue. In 2018, East Pierce units responded to 8,142 EMS incidents, and transported 5,690 patients (an average of 15.6 per day) to area hospitals. The number of calls is predicted to continue increasing due to the aging of the “baby boomer” population, a shortage of primary and family care physicians, and an increasing number of assisted living centers and dementia centers located within the fire district.

To handle the increasing EMS call volume, EPFR deploys six fire engines and four medic units (paramedic ambulances) with a combination of firefighter-EMTs and firefighter-paramedics at our six staffed stations. Each station always includes at least one firefighter cross-trained as a paramedic.

East Pierce fire/EMS crews continue to deliver outstanding medical care for patients. For the third year in a row, EPFR was awarded a 2017 American Heart Association Mission Lifeline—Gold Award for our efforts in improving recognition, time to treatment and expedited transport of patients with severe heart attacks. In 2013, the department was recognized by the International Association of Fire Chiefs as the “Heart-Safe Community of the Year” in the United States. East Pierce continues to participate in programs designed to improve EMS care in Washington state.

In 2018, EPFR launched a new “Community Resource Paramedic” program, in which a specially-trained paramedic helps assist frequent 9-1-1 callers and patients with unmet, chronic medical conditions. The Community Resource Paramedic helps patients navigate a complex health-care system, connecting them with resources and case managers who often can provide services to assist these “at-risk” patients. This program helps improve the quality of life for patients and helps them continue to live safely, and independently, while reducing 9-1-1 calls, keeping fire/EMS units available for other medical emergencies.

No Out-Of-Pocket Ambulance Expense to Residents

Since 2004, East Pierce Fire & Rescue has provided emergency ambulance service to district residents with the goal of providing improved clinical care at no “out-of-pocket” cost to fire district residents. The district does bill, on the patient’s behalf, private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid and other insurance providers. Last year, East Pierce received nearly $2.8 million in ambulance transport revenues which are utilized to support the EMS program.

For district residents, insurance co-pays are “written off” against the EMS levy, providing hospital transportation at no “out-of-pocket” expense to the individual patient. We estimate that district residents save between $900,000 and $1,200,000 each year from this program, which is underwritten by the EMS levy.

Contacting the EMS Division

For medical records requests, lost items and general EMS questions or needs; please contact:

253-447-3524 Direct Line
253-862-8065 Secure Fax

Medical Records Request Form (PDF)

EMS Division Staff

Assistant Chief—EMS: Russ McCallion - Direct Line: 253-447-3504

EMS Battalion Chief: Brad Dyson - Direct Line: 253-447-3515

EMS Specialist/Lieutenant Jeff Berry - Direct Line: 253-447-3518

Administrative Support Specialist Tricia Brown - Direct Line: 253-447-3524

Community Resource Paramedic Jen Killion - Direct Line: 253-447-3511

Behavioral Health Specialist Melissa Haney -  Direct Line: 253-447-3526

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