The EMS section is charged with the responsibility to reduce the incidence of death and disability by providing prompt and effective pre-hospital emergency medical treatment and transportation to victims of illness or injuries in the City of Dover . The city's demand for emergency medical services continues to increase as the department responded to an all-time high of 2144 calls for medical assistance in 2003.
In February of 1980, the then Dover Fire Department acquired the ambulance service from the Police Department. This was done with an old Cadillac station wagon, a handful of EMT's and a "vision." This vision was quickly transformed into a commitment.
This "vision" began with a dream to provide quality emergency medical services to the citizens of Dover . With paramedics staffing our ambulances, and on most days, our fire engines as well, we have realized our vision many times over and feel providing quality service is no longer good enough. We strive to be aggressively pro-active in our pursuit of the ultimate EMS system with continual improvements.
The City of Dover currently has 51 full time employees who operate three ambulances, which respond to approximately 5,000 calls for service. These calls for service have ranged from the dramatic rescue and resuscitation of an infant from a fire, to the on-scene delivery of a breached birth. With few exceptions, all our calls have one thing in common - the caller needs help. They know that when they call the City of Dover Fire & Rescue, we will respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
The ability of responding personnel to stabilize patients at the scene varies across the country with the level of system preparedness and provider training. It is widely recognized in medical circles and validated by several studies that advanced life support (ALS) treatment has a dramatic effect on morbidity and mortality rates when compared to lower levels of care. In heart attack cases for example, studies have shown that when a fire department first responder reaches a victim within 4 minutes and starts treatment, and ALS is initiated within 8 minutes, survival rates are greatly increased, all of which our service currently provides on a regular basis.
These studies also indicated, whether or not ALS equipment is available, that the training of EMS personnel plays a large part in determining the victim's potential for recovery, length of hospital stay and total rehabilitation time. Training is one of our main priorities in this ever- changing and progressing society.
Our personnel continue to advance their medical certification levels which enables us to provide an ever-increasing level of care for the citizens of Dover.
By September of 2004, four employees earned their paramedic certifications after a grueling year of classes. Over 1000 hours of study was completed by these individuals in a program run by the New England EMS Institute out of the Elliot Hospital and held in Dover and hosted by Dover Fire & Rescue. Most of the 1000+ hours of study was completed off-duty. They joined 13 other firefighters who are paramedic certified, raising the total to 17.
Today through hiring and more classes we are able to provide the citizens of Dover with 21 Paramedics and 30 Emergency Medical Technicians.
Paramedics have been trained in many areas and are certified to perform the following:
Paramedics and EMT-Intermediates operate under the direction of physicians at the respective medical control facility as a team with who they are in constant communication. This is done via two-way radio and/or phone directly to the physician in charge of the patient's management.
In spite of the differences in training and the variety of labels applied to our Emergency Medical Technicians with training beyond the basic level, all EMT's have two things in common: They are all professionals and are committed to the citizens of Dover.
During cardiac arrests, there is a "Chain of Survival," which begins with citizen/bystander CPR, and continues with the prompt EMS response, through cardiac defibrillation, includes the arrival of Advanced Life Support, ending with the efficient transfer to the nearest hospital's emergency department. Each and every link of this chain greatly increases the chance of survival. The City of Dover Fire & Rescue Service continues to build on every link to make this chain strong within this city.