The Emergency Medical Services Division is responsible for the administration and training of personnel to deliver pre-hospital emergency medical services to people who live, work, and visit the City of Santa Clara. All personnel in the Division are trained to either an Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), or Emergency Medical Technician-Paramedic level (EMT-P). Advanced life support (ALS) service is delivered utilizing Emergency Medical Priority Dispatchers (EMD), Basic Life Support (EMT) engine companies, Advanced Life Support (EMT-P) engine companies, and Supplemental Transport Ambulance Resources (STAR-Car).
Medical Priority Dispatch
Emergency Medical Dispatchers (EMD) use computer assisted medical priority dispatch systems to assess callers in order to determine the location, nature and priority of the medical emergency. The information obtained assists in identifying the most appropriate level of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) response. EMD’s will provide critical pre-arrival instruction over the telephone until Santa Clara City Fire/EMS personnel arrive on scene.
Advanced Life Support (ALS) Organizational Structure
The Santa Clara Fire Department utilizes both ALS engine companies and STAR Cars for delivery of ALS service. ALS engine companies and STAR Cars are currently located at fire stations 1, 3, 5, and 6. The Emergency Medical Services Division strives to provide a minimum of two paramedics on scene of an emergency within five to seven minutes.
Supplemental Transport Ambulance Resources (STAR Car)
The STAR Car program allows Santa Clara’s Fire Department to provide enhanced 9-1-1 medical services for the people who live, work, and visit the City of Santa Clara. Santa Clara Fire Department in partnership with the Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services Agency has implemented the STAR Car Program. Upon arrival at the emergency medical scene, Santa Clara Fire Department Paramedics will assess, treat, and prepare the patient for ambulance transport to a hospital if necessary. On rare occasions--when an individual has a life threatening condition and the County provided ambulance is not on scene—the Santa Clara City Star Car will transport the patient to the nearest hospital.
Fire Department Transports Critical Patients in Ambulances
Following lengthy negotiations between the City and the County of Santa Clara, ambulances staffed by paramedic firefighters are now sent to emergency medical service calls in the City of Santa Clara.
Once on the scene of an emergency, Santa Clara Fire Department paramedics, who generally arrive prior to the private ambulance provider, assess an individual's medical needs, provide treatment, and prepare for transportation to a hospital via ambulance if required. Most individuals will continue to be transported to a hospital with the County's contract ambulance provider, Rural/Metro Ambulance. But on those occasions when an individual has a severe and imminently life-threatening condition, the Fire Department will transport the patient if Rural/Metro Ambulance is not yet on the emergency scene.
The Fire Department has two levels of medical training for its firefighters. There are 120 firefighters trained to the level known as Basic Life Support and are known as Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs. EMTs staff five of eight fire engines, both truck companies, and one Hazardous Materials unit. There are 36 firefighters trained to the level known as Advanced Life Support and are known as Paramedics. Paramedics staff the remaining four engine companies and three ambulances that are distributed strategically through the City.
Three cities in the County, Santa Clara, Gilroy, and San Jose, are participating in the supplemental ambulance program. The Santa Clara Fire Department is extremely pleased to provide this level of service to the citizens.