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What is Emergency Medical Services (EMS)?

EMS is a system of volunteer and career care providers that provides emergency care for sick or injured people.  In Cattaraugus County, EMS is made up of ambulances, fly-cars, and helicopters for transporting patients to a hospital.  Ambulances and medical helicopters can only transport emergency patients to a hospital, they cannot transport to urgent care centers or doctor's offices. The care providers, also known as EMS providers, that staff these vehicles, in order from #1 (lesser level of training) and #6 (highest level of training) are:

  1. Certified First Responders (CFRs) - Provide advanced first aid care until an ambulance arrives.
    • 48 - 60 hours of training
  2. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) - Minimum staff for an ambulance, provide basic life support care until the patient reaches the hospital.
    • 150 - 190 hours of training
  3. Advanced EMTs - Provides care more advanced than an EMT, such as IVs and advanced ways to help a patient breathe.
    • 160 - 200 hours of training
  4. Critical Care - Provides more advanced care than an Advanced EMT, similar to a Paramedic, including giving some emergency medications.
    • 480 - 520 hours of training
  5. Paramedic - Can provide the most advanced emergency care to patients in both ambulances and helicopters.
    • 1,000 - 1,200 hours of training
  6. Physician Medical Directors - Doctors of emergency medicine that oversee EMS care providers and sometimes work in ambulances and helicopters alongside other EMS.

Fly-cars are first response vehicles that bring an EMS providers, often times Advanced EMTs, Critical Care providers, and Paramedics, to an ambulance to assist the crew with caring for critically sick or injured people.

What is the Fire Service?

The system of first responders, including volunteer and career firefighters, that respond to and manage all types of emergencies.  Fire service members respond to calls for assistance in fire trucks, first response pickup trucks and SUVs, ambulances, and sometimes they arrive in their own personal vehicles.  Members of the fire service have varied training and include personnel with titles such as Exterior Firefighter, Interior Firefighter, Fire Police, Hazardous Materials Technician, and Driver.

  • Exterior Firefighters - Trained to work on all types of emergency scenes but at a fire they do not enter a burning building, instead they assist from outside.
    • Minimum of 79 hours of training
  • Interior Firefighters - Highly trained personnel that also work on all types of scenes but at a fire they can enter a burning building, they wear breathing masks with air tanks, and perform specialized rescues.
    • Minimum of 129 hours of training
  • Fire Police - Personnel that specialize in directing and controlling traffic around an emergency scene to both keep the first responders and victims safe, but also keep those on the road safe from the dangers of the emergency scene.
    • Minimum of 21 hours of training
  • Hazardous Materials Technician - Trained to respond to emergencies involved all types of hazardous materials such as gasoline spills, chemical releases, and vehicle crashes that have allowed hazardous liquids to leak.
    • Minimum of 169 hours of training
  • Driver - Many volunteer fire departments have personnel assigned specifically to drive and operate the fire truck.  Sometimes these members are crossed trained to perform other functions on scene and other times they are dedicated to driving and operating equipment only.
    • Varies by fire department