Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue
Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue
Pbcfr.jpg
Motto: "When seconds count, count on us"
Established 1984
Staffing Combination Career/Volunteer
Strength 1473
Stations 49
Engines 41
Squads 2 (Special Ops/HazMat)
Rescues 43 (ALS Transport Units)
Helicopters 2
Fireboats 1 Rescue Airboat
Tenders 4
EMS Level ALS
Fire chief Steve Jerauld
Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Volunteer Battalion Logo
Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Pipes and Drums Logo

Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue (PBCFR) is a combination career/volunteer fire department responsible for providing Fire Protection, Emergency Medical Services, ALS Transport, Hazardous Materials Mitigation, Special Operations, Aircraft Firefighting, 9-1-1 Dispatching, Public Education, Fire Inspections, Fire Investigations, and Building Plans Review for unincorporated Palm Beach County, Florida and certain cities under contract.

Contents

History

Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue was created on October 1, 1984, when the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution consolidating the existing fire districts in Palm Beach County.

Prior to 1984 the following fire districts were in existence, covering mostly unincorporated Palm Beach County:

  • Jupiter-Tequesta
  • Juno Beach
  • Old Dixie
  • Military Park[1]
  • Southwest
  • Trail Park
  • Reservation[2]
  • Del Trail
  • Canal Point
  • Palm Beach International Airport

These departments consolidated, under the leadership of Chief Herman Brice, into Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue. Most of the incorporated cities, unless they were under a contract with a fire district, retained their own departments.

Mergers since 1990

The following departments merged into Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue between 1990 and 2000:

  • Lantana Fire-Rescue [3](October 1, 1997)
  • Royal Palm Beach Fire-Rescue (March 13, 1999)

Mergers since 2000

  • Lake Park Fire Department (June 29, 2002).
  • Belle Glade Fire Department[4]
  • Pahokee Fire Department[4]
  • South Bay Fire Department[4]

Mergers since 2009

  • Lake Worth Fire Rescue[5]
  • Palm Springs Public Safety, Fire-Rescue Division[5]


Fire Stations

Station 33, a typical 9-firefighter station. This firehouse was originally staffed at 9 personnel, but is now staffed at 6 consisting of two vehicles: Engine 33 and Rescue 33. This firehouse covers an area of suburban West Palm Beach, Florida, and has the nickname of "The Fire Factory".
Station 52, a typical 3-firefighter station consisting of two vehicles: Engine 52 and Rescue 52. The crew of 3 takes whichever vehicle is dispatched to the call. This firehouse covers a portion of suburban Boca Raton, Florida.
Station 47, a typical 6-firefighter station consisting of three vehicles: Quint 47, Rescue 47, and Brush 47. This firehouse covers the western sections of suburban Boynton Beach, Florida.
Palm Beach County Fire Rescue Stations[6]
Batt Station # Address Units Housed
0 0 405 Pike Road
West Palm Beach, FL 33411
(Training)
1 14 12015 W Indiantown Rd
Jupiter Farms, FL 33478
E14 R14 B14 T14
1 15 12870 US Hwy 1
Juno Beach, FL 33408
Q15 R15
1 16 3550 Military Trail
Jupiter, FL 33458
E16 R16 B16
1 17 8130 N Jog Rd
West Palm Beach, FL 33412
E17 R17 B17
1 18 777 N US Hwy 1
Jupiter, FL 33458
E18 R18
1 19 322 N Central Blvd
Jupiter, FL 33458
E19 R19 SO19 B19 BC1 DC1 EMS1
1 68 1000 Park Ave
Lake Park, FL 33403
E68 R68
2 20 1000 Greenview Shores Blvd
Wellington, FL 33414
E20 R20 B20
2 21 14200 Okeechobee Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 33470
E21 R21 B21 T21
2 22 5060 Seminole Pratt Whitney Rd
Loxahatchee, FL 33470
E22 B22
2 25 1060 Wellington Trace
Wellington, FL 33414
E25 R25 B25
2 26 6085 Avocado Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 33411
E26 R26 B26
2 27 3411 Southshore Blvd
Wellington, FL 33414
E27 R27 B27
2 28 1040 Royal Palm Bch Blvd
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
E28 R28 B28 DC2 BC2 EMS2
3 23 5471 Okeechobee Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 33417
E23 R23 R231 BC3 DC10 EMS10
3 24 1734 Seminole Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 33409
E24 R24 LA24
3 31 3439 Lake Worth Rd
Lake Worth, FL 33461
E31 R31
3 33 830 Kirk Rd
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
E33 R33
3 35 2501 W Lantana Rd
Lantana, FL 33462
E35 R35 EMS9
3 36 5395 Purdy Lane
West Palm Beach, FL 33415
E36 R36
3 37 500 Greynolds Circle
Lantana, FL 33462
E37 R37
3 38 600 South Ocean Dr
Manalapan, FL 33462
E38
3 43 5970 S Military Trl
Lake Worth, FL 33460
E43 R43 B43
3 81 Palm Beach Intl Airport Bldg 120
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
RP81 D1 D2 D4 D5 F81 Support81 BC8 DC8 AC1 Airport LT1 Command81 Escort1 AS1
3 82 4255 Southern Blvd
West Palm Beach, FL 33406
TH1 TH2 (Trauma Hawk)
4 41 5105 Woolbright Rd
Boynton Beach, FL 33435
E41 R41 R411
4 42 14276 Hagen Ranch Rd
Delray Beach, FL 33466
E42 R42 B42 EMS4 BC4 DC4
4 44 6670 Flavor Pict Rd
Boynton Beach, FL 33437
E44 R44
4 45 15450 Jog Rd
Delray Beach, FL 33446
E45 R45 R451
4 46 7550 Jog Rd
Boynton Beach, FL 33463
E46 R46
4 47 7950 Enterprise Ctr Cir
Boynton Beach, FL 33437
R47 Q47
4 48 8560 Hypoluxo Rd
Lake Worth, FL 33467
E48 T48 B48
4 52 4661 Pheasant Way
Boca Raton, FL 33431
E52 R52
5 51 10050 Oriole Country Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33433
E51 R51
5 53 19950 Lyons Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33434
E53 R53
5 54 18501 State Rd 7
Boca Raton, FL 33498
E54 R54 B54
5 55 6787 Palmetto Circle N
Boca Raton, FL 33433
E55 R55 R55B
5 56 6250 SW 18th St
Boca Raton, FL 33433
R56
5 57 9030 Vista Del Lago
Boca Raton, FL 33428
Q57 R57 BC5 DC5 EMS5
5 58 12245 Glades Rd
Boca Raton, FL 33428
E58
7 72 171 N Lake Ave
Pahokee, FL 33476
E72 T72 R72 B72
7 73 525 SW 2nd St
Belle Glade, FL 33430
E73 E73B RA73 EMS7
7 74 335 SW 2nd St
South Bay, FL 33493
E74 BC7 DC7
9 29 10055 Belvedere Rd
Royal Palm Beach, FL 33411
Q29 R29
9 30 9610 Stribling (Pierson) Rd
Wellington, FL 33414
E30 R30
9 32 4022 Charleston St
Lake Worth, FL 33461
E32 R32 B32
9 34 231 Benoist Farms Rd
West Palm Beach, FL 33411
E34 R34 TC34 SO34 B34 BC9 DC9

(E= Engine, R= Rescue, B= Brush, T= Tanker, Q= Quint, LA= Light+Air,
SO= Special Operations (HazMat+Heavy Rescue), TC= Tactical (Heavy Rescue),
DC= District Chief, BC= Battalion Chief, EMS= Paramedic Supervisor, AC= Airport Captain,
D= Dragon (ARFF Crash Truck), RP= Rescue Pumper, F= Foam,
TH= TraumaHawk (Aero-Medical helicopter), RA= Rescue Airboat)

Some of the firehouses have nicknames that describe the life or types of calls run at that firehouse.
Station 23, the busiest station in the department, is known as "The Rock" because it is often a difficult place to work due to the call volume, and new members get sent there to do their "rookie" time;
Station 33 is known as "The Fire Factory" due to its notoriously high number of fires;
Station 36 is known as the "House of Pain" because of the high volume of calls including structure fires, shootings and stabbings;
Station 41 is known as "The Night Train" because they are often up all night running medical calls;
Station 55 is known as "The Fun House" because of the number of calls they run, and things can sometimes get crazy there;
Station 31 is known as "The Guardians of the Corridor", protecting the Lake Worth Corridor, and run a high volume of fire and trauma related calls as well.

Unit Assignments

The minimum staffing is as follows:

  • Engines and Quints[7]:
    • 1 Company Officer (Operational Captain)
    • 1 Driver Operator
    • 1 Firefighter[8]
  • Rescues:
    • 1 Lieutenant
    • 1 Firefighter/Paramedic
    • 1 Firefighter/EMT[9]
  • Special Operations (Haz-Mat/Dive/High Angle Rescue):
    • 1 Haz-Mat Driver/Operator
    • 1 Firefighter/Haz-Mat Technician[10]
  • Tenders (formerly "Tankers"):
    • 1 Driver/Operator
  • ARFF Airport Crash Trucks (called Dragons):
    • 1 ARFF FF/Driver
  • Brush trucks are not normally staffed except during Fire Warning periods or after hurricanes. The crew from the engine takes the truck if it is needed and they both operate together as a Task Force.

Open assignments are bid twice a year and are chosen by seniority. If a person already holds an assignment, they cannot be "bumped" out of it unless the station is being disbanded or as a disciplinary action.

Work Schedule

Battalion Chiefs work Monday-Friday (except on holidays). All ranks District Chief and below work a 24-hours on, 48-hours off schedule. Each officer and firefighter is assigned to a shift, of which there are three: A, B, and C. There is only one shift on at a time. Tours are for 24 hours and run from 0730 to 0730 the next morning. Employees of the same rank and assignment may "swap" tours with one another, if approved by their respective approving supervisor.

Kelly Days

Every three weeks each firefighter gets a "Kelly Day"[11], also called a "work week adjustment". This is a day off to bring the work week down to the negotiated number of hours. For instance, if a firefighter works 24-hours on and 48-hours off without a Kelly Day, that firefighter would be working a 56-hour work week. PBCFR has a negotiated 48-hour work week, so each firefighter is given 24-hours off every three weeks to compensate for the time difference. The Kelly Day always falls on the same day of the week for the individual firefighter, and is bid once a year based on seniority (the more senior people get the more desirable days).

How incidents are received and transmitted

When a person dials 9-1-1 in Palm Beach County, it goes to the local Public Safety Answering Point, which is usually the local Sheriff Office or police agency. If the call is of a fire or medical nature, and is in PBCFR's jurisdiction (or one of the agencies that is dispatched by PBCFR), it is transferred to the PBCFR Communications Center located in the Palm Beach County Emergency Operations Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. A calltaker will ascertain the location and nature of the emergency, enter it into the Computer Aided Dispatch system, and give the caller medical instructions if needed. Meanwhile, another dispatcher, who received the call via the CAD system, verifies that the closest unit(s) are available for the call.

In July, 2006, the PBCFR Communications Center switched over to a new CAD system, made by Intergraph as well as a new Enhanced 9-1-1 telephone system, made by Positron Public Safety Systems.

Once the unit response is verified, the call is sent to a printer in the fire station and a computerized voice announces the call both in the firehouse and on the radio, alerting the crews to the call. The calls are also sent to the crews via an alpha-numeric paging system and in some units to their Mobile Data Terminal (laptop computer in their vehicle). In July, 2006, this computerized voice dispatch system, which is made by Locution Systems, Inc. was put into service. This system notifies the units via a computerized voice over the dispatch channel as well as their fire station directly via the computer network. This system cuts down the time it takes to dispatch a unit to a call, especially if there are other calls holding. The old two-tone paging system is still in place as a backup in the event the computerized system fails.

Alarm Levels

An Alarm Level is a representation of how many units are assigned to an incident, and indirectly, the seriousness of the incident. All incidents are initially dispatched at an alarm level of "1". Working fires that require more resources than the first due units can provide are upgraded to a second alarm, which send more units to the scene.[12] Subsequent alarms dispatch more units to the scene. The amount of units being dispatched is dependent on the type of call.

Example:

Alarm Level Units for Type: 11R (Residential Structure Fire) Units for Type: 400 (Motor Vehicle Accident)
1 (first alarm) 3 Engines, 2 Rescue, 1 Quint, 1 District Chief, 1 District Captain 1 Engine, 1 Rescue
2 (second alarm - these units are sent after the first alarm units are dispatched, if needed) 1 Engine, 1 Rescue, 1 Special Operations unit, 1 District Chief, 1 Battalion Chief, 1 District Captain[13] 1 Engine, 1 Rescue, 1 District Chief, 1 District Captain
3 (third alarm) 1 Engine, 1 Rescue, Division Chief of Operations[14] n/a

NIMS and "Signals"

Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue follows the National Incident Management System (NIMS) format for all radio communications. All communications are done in "Plain English" with certain standard terminology specific to the department used as well. Only two "signals" are in use: "Signal 4", which is a motor vehicle accident, and "Signal 7", which is a deceased person. These are holdovers from the "signals" used by the police agencies statewide.[15]

Countywide Dispatch

Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue Communications Center

In 2004 the County Commission approved a resolution allowing for funding for the Fire-Rescue Communications Center to come out of the General Fund instead of the Fire-Rescue budget. This change meant that now any city that wanted to be dispatched by Fire-Rescue could do so without having to negotiate a price and a contract, since all taxpayers were paying for it anyway. The concept behind this was to create a "Regionalized Dispatch Center" where the closest unit could be dispatched to a call, regardless of municipal boundaries. This was initially met with opposition from a few cities, citing that this construed "Double Taxation", as they were already providing dispatch services to their own departments yet their citizens were being taxed for the Countywide system. Recently, more and more cities are coming into the new system.

Municipal Fire Departments currently participating in the Countywide Dispatch System

  • Greenacres Public Safety
  • North Palm Beach Public Safety
  • Palm Beach Gardens Fire-Rescue
  • Tequesta Fire-Rescue
  • West Palm Beach Fire Department[16]
  • Riviera Beach

Security Medics

Many of the "Gated Communities" in the areas that Fire-Rescue services have their own private security patrols. In a handful of these communities, the patrol officers also act as first responders for medical calls. Some of these communities have even gone the extra step of hiring "Security Medics", who are security patrol officers certified as paramedics with Advanced Life Support equipment, capable of initiating life saving measures before the Fire-Rescue paramedics arrive. The security companies, at their request, are provided with alpha-numeric pagers which alert them of a call in their community. The call is sent to the pager from the Fire-Rescue Computer Aided Dispatch system and gives them the location and nature of the call.


Department Facts

PBCFR December Construction Accident 3.JPG
Firefighters and Special Operations teams of Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue prepare equipment for the extraction of a buried construction worker.

(Facts obtained from the FY 2010 Fact Sheet)

Population and Area

Financial/Staffing

  • Budget: $347 million (FY 2010 includes all operating funds)
  • Millage Rate: 3.4581 mils
  • Number of Personnel: 1,542 Full Time Employee Positions (1,045 Certified Paramedics) and 100 Volunteers
  • Number of Stations: 49
  • Daily Firefighter Strength: 286 minimum staffing.

Units

  • Number of In-Service Units[17]:
    • 33 ALS Engines[18]
    • 6 BLS Engines
    • 43 ALS Rescues[19]
    • 5 either/or units[20]
    • 1 Rescue Pumpers[21]
    • 2 Special Operations Units[22]
    • 2 BLS Quints
    • 2 ALS Quints
    • 4 Tenders (3000 gallons each)
    • 5 ARFF Crash Trucks[23]
    • 1 Foam Truck[24]
    • 1 Light/Air Support Unit
    • 2 Aeromedical Helicopters[25] (Trauma Hawk)
Engine 28 is a typical PBCFR fire engine. This is an ALS engine that serves the Village of Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee and The Acreage.
Rescue 28 is a typical PBCFR paramedic rescue truck. This is an ALS rescue unit that serves the Village of Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee and The Acreage.
Brush 28 is a typical PBCFR Brush truck. This is an off-road vehicle for clearing roads after hurricanes, drafting, and fighting brush and wildfires that serves the Village of Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee and The Acreage.

Call Volume

Number of Calls (PBCFR) (FY 2009):

  • 89,646 Medical Calls
  • 1,322 Structure Fire Calls
  • 14,745 Other Calls
  • 105,713 TOTAL
    • Number of calls dispatched (all agencies): 147,397

Average Response Time: 6 minutes 36 seconds

Ranks

Title Badge Collar and Badge Insignia Helmet Color Helmet Shield Color
Chief of Department Gold 5 crossed bugles, gold background White Gold Leaf
Deputy Chief Gold 4 crossed bugles, gold background White Gold Leaf
Division Chief Gold 4 crossed bugles, blue background White Gold Leaf
Battalion Chief Gold 3 crossed bugles, gold background White Gold Leaf
District Chief Gold 3 crossed bugles, blue background White White
District Captain Gold 2 crossed bugles, blue background Black with Red Tetrahedrons and White reflective bars White
Captain (both Station Captains and "Specialty" Captains (ARFF, Special Ops)) Gold 2 vertical parallel bugles, blue background Black with Red Tetrahedrons ("Specialty" Captains also have White reflective bars) White
Lieutenant Gold 1 vertical bugle, blue background Black with Red Tetrahedrons and Blue reflective bars White
Driver/Operator Silver with driver emblem No collar insignia Black with Yellow Tetrahedrons Black
Firefighter
Silver with "firefighter scramble" No collar insignia Black with Yellow Tetrahedrons Black
Explorer Silver with "Explorer 'E'" No collar insignia Yellow Black

Organization

Quint 29 working at a house fire.

Executive Staff

  • Chief of Department and Administrator - Chief Steve Jerauld
    • Deputy Chief of Operations - Chief Ronald Beesley
      • Chief of North Division Operations - Chief Sean O'Bannon
      • Chief of South Division Operations - Chief Bill Peters
        • Battalion Chief of Homeland Security - Vacant
      • Division Chief of Training and Safety - Chief Thomas Tolbert
    • Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention/Fire Marshal - Chief Jeff Collins
      • Battalion Chief of Fire Prevention/Deputy Fire Marshal - Vacant
    • Deputy Chief of Administration - Chief Steve Delai
    • Deputy Chief of Logistics (Support Services) - Chief James St. Pierre

Operational Battalion Chiefs

  • Battalion 1 - Chief Mike Wells
  • Battalion 2 - Chief Nigel Baker
  • Battalion 3 - Chief Mike Arena
  • Battalion 4 - Chief Todd Blake
  • Battalion 5 - Chief Dave Horowitz (also Battalion 8)
  • (Battalion 6 is reserved for the City of Palm Beach Gardens Fire Department)
  • Battalion 7 - Chief Chuck Lupo
  • Battalion 8 (Airport Fire-Rescue Battalion) - Chief Dave Horowitz
  • Battalion 9 - Chief Mark Anderson
  • Volunteer Battalion (Unpaid) - Chief Kevin Rattey

Volunteer Division

The Volunteer Division is used primarily as a reserve division. They are not paged as first-in units, nor are volunteers used for daily staffing. Combat Volunteers have the opportunity to ride at any of the county stations. The Volunteers are called for major fires for rehab and suppression. They operate out of Station 42 in Delray Beach and Station 68 in Lake Park.[26]

  • 100 Volunteers
    • 50 Combat members serve at the various stations within the county and are at least Firefighter I certified.
      • Combat Volunteer : Firefighter I
      • Combat-EMT : Firefighter I / EMT
      • Combat-Paramedic : Firefighter I / Paramedic
    • 50 Non-Combat Volunteers
      • Non-Combat members serve in support functions such as administration, investigation, inspections and public education.

Explorers Post (205)

The Explorers post of PBCFR is a program for teens ages 15–20, or 14 and in the 9th grade. Mandatory meetings are held twice a month at the Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue "Herman W. Brice Training Center" for active Explorers. Once a candidate is voted in as a member of the post, they will be able to train for firematics competitions, learn emergency patient assessment skills, and ride along with the crews. Before an Explorer can participate in the "Ride Along" program, he or she must obtain "BLS Healthcare Provider", train on basic firefighting skills, and be familiar with the location of equipment on the vehicles. The post takes new members twice a year and currently has 100 active members.

The post follows a chain of command like Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue. There are 2 battalions, with 4 companies in each. There are 11 Exploring Officers in the post: 1 District Chief, 2 Captains and 8 Lieutenants. The officers in the post lead the bi-weekly meetings; this includes the specific trainings/lectures for the evening, testing, etc. The officers ensure that the Explorers are following the guidelines specified in the department and post SOG’s (Standard Operating Guidelines). To become an officer, a candidate must have completed a designated amount of ride time, and must be a member in good sanding within the post. Post members that meet the prerequisites for Lieutenant or Captain may request an officer’s position in January, and be voted in to the position by the post. The District Chief position is appointed by the post's Advisors (employees of PBCFR that oversee the post) to a person who is in good standing of the post, shows the leadership qualities necessary, and is responsible.

Once an Explorer has taken and passed one written and two "on-site" knowledge tests of a department engine and rescue unit, they can go to their local fire station and ask if one of the career Firefighters would be willing to sponsor them in the ride along program. The sponsor is responsible for the Explorer when they are at the station and on calls. An Explorer can go to the fire station when their sponsor is on shift. An Explorer may only ride along from 1600 and 2100 hours, except on weekends and when school is not in session. When an Explorer is on shift, they can participate in numerous activities at the station, as well as at emergency scenes. Explorers cannot put themselves into danger while in the field. For example: if there is a HAZMAT situation, an Explorer must stay in the “Cold Zone” (area with no hazard). When at a structure fire, an Explorer cannot go into the building until the fire is extinguished, and may go through with firefighters and "explore" the damages. They can help outside with moving and connecting hoses, preparing hydrants, and mostly being a "runner." Explorers may assist paramedics when on medical calls to the level of training to which they have obtained.

A second Explorer Post is in the planning stages for The Glades.

Emergency Medical Service

The majority of emergency calls to which Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue responds are medical in nature. This is largely due to the large elderly population they service as well as the decrease of fire-related calls over the past few decades.

Advanced Life Support

From its inception in 1984 to today, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue has been able to maintain at least one Advanced Life Support unit in every station, whether it is a Rescue or an Engine. Initially, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue only provided non-transport ALS (fly-cars) utilizing modified ambulances and "squad" type utility trucks. A private ambulance service provided BLS assistance and transported the patient. If the call was a call that met ALS criteria, the Fire-Rescue paramedic would take the ALS gear and climb into the back of the ambulance along with the EMT from the ambulance service. The other Fire-Rescue paramedic would then follow the ambulance to the hospital. This setup was very similar to the one depicted in the 1970s TV show Emergency!.

Basic Life Support

At the time of consolidation in 1984, Basic Life Support and transport was done by several local ambulance services in Palm Beach County.

Ambulance Services in Palm Beach County in 1984

  • North County Ambulance - Responded to "Zone 1": the "North County" area, which is the areas surrounding Jupiter, Tequesta, and Juno Beach.[27]
  • Inter-City Ambulance - Responded to "Zone 2": the areas surrounding Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, Lake Park, and Riviera Beach.[28] They also intermittently provided coverage in the "Western Communities", which was "Zone 11" and covered the Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, and Loxahatchee areas, as well as an area known as The Acreage.[29]
  • Atlantic Ambulance - Responded to "Zone 3", "Zone 6", "Zone 9", and "Zone 10". "Zone 3" was the area around the City of West Palm Beach. "Zone 6" was the southern end of Palm Beach County including the cities of Delray Beach and Boca Raton and the surrounding areas. "Zone 9" and "Zone 10" cover "The Glades", which is the western half of Palm Beach County delimited by an area known as "Twenty-Mile Bend".[30]
  • JFK Ambulance - Responded to "Zone 4". "Zone 4" covered the southern end of West Palm Beach, Lantana, and Lake Worth, as well as some of the surrounding areas.[31]
  • AA Ambulance - Responded to "Zone 5". "Zone 5" was the area around Boynton Beach.[32]
  • Southwest Area Volunteer Emergency Services (SAVES) - Responded to "Zone 7". "Zone 7" was the area between the "Western Communities" (Zone 11) and the "Coastal Communities" (Zones 3, 4, and 5). The area they covered was unincorporated Palm Beach County with the exception of the City of Greenacres (called "Greenacres City" at that time). In the early 1990s they were taken over by Bethesda Ambulance, who was then taken over by American Medical Response.

Today, there are only two private ambulance providers left in Palm Beach County: American Medical Response and Medics Ambulance Service. In November, 2007, Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue started a pilot program to transport all BLS patients in certain areas (see "BLS Transport" below).

ALS Transport

In 1996 the County Commission enacted an ordinance allowing Fire-Rescue to transport their own ALS patients to the hospital. The county is divided up into zones and in some of these zones PBCFR now transports both ALS and BLS Basic Life Support patients. In other zones BLS patients are turned over to a private ambulance service for transport to a hospital.

Traumahawk

The Traumahawk departs for a trauma center after a vehicle accident.

The Traumahawk is an air ambulance used for ALS Transport of trauma, cardiac, and stroke patients meeting certain pre-determined criteria. It is owned and operated by the Palm Beach County Health District, and staffed by Registered Nurses and Paramedics from Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue. Since it is owned and operated by the Health Care District, it is available to any public safety agency requiring trauma, cardiac, or stroke transport via air in Palm Beach County. The on scene Paramedics will decide whether or not a Traumahawk is necessary in a situation basic on certain pre-determined criteria.

On average, a Traumahawk is dispatched between 1 and 5 times a day for traumatic injuries, including those from vehicle accidents to sports injuries. In the western communities it is also used extensively for cardiac and stroke patients since the distance to the closest cardiac and stroke treatment centers is over an hour by ground.

BLS Transport

In November, 2007, Fire-Rescue started a pilot program to begin transporting all patients, regardless of whether they are ALS or BLS for "Zone 1", which is the area bordered by Martin County to the north, 20-Mile Bend to the west, split down the middle by the Florida's Turnpike. The area between the Turnpike west to 20-Mile Bend is bordered on the south by Lantana Road in suburban Lantana and Lake Worth. The area between the Turnpike and the Atlantic Ocean (or the eastern border of our jurisdiction where it does not reach the ocean) is bordered on the south by 45th Street in suburban West Palm Beach.[33].

The following schedule was followed for the project:

  • The following stations began BLS transport November 5, 2007, @ 0730 hrs:
    • Stations 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 68
  • The following stations began BLS transport November 19, 2007, @ 0730 hrs:
    • Stations 20, 21, 22, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 34, 46[34], 48[35]
  • The following stations began BLS transport December 2, 2007, @ 0730 hrs:
    • Stations 23 and 32 (only on or west of the turnpike)
  • The following stations began BLS transport January 7, 2008, @ 0730 hrs:
    • Stations 72, 73, 74

ALS Engines

When a request for a medical problem is received by Fire-Rescue, the closest Rescue truck is dispatched. If the closest Rescue is not available, an ALS Engine or ALS Quint is dispatched. The crew on the ALS Engine carries full Advanced Life Support gear and can initiate the appropriate care until another Rescue unit arrives to transport the patient. If the patient does not require Advanced Life Support, a BLS ambulance can be requested from American Medical Response or Medics Ambulance Service, depending on the location of the incident, to transport the patient in those areas where Fire-Rescue does not provide BLS transport.

Emergency Medical Dispatch

When Fire-Rescue consolidated, the different fire districts also consolidated their dispatch into one central office. The Palm Beach County EMS Dispatch (also known as "MedCom", who was responsible for dispatching the private ambulance services) expanded their facility on Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach and started handling dispatch functions for the newly created department. This facility was renamed the "Alarm Office". Initially, a firefighter-paramedic would be stationed at the "Alarm Office" to give pre-arrival instructions to callers that needed them. With the introduction of Emergency Medical Dispatch certifications, Fire-Rescue purchased a license to use the "Medical Priority"[36] system and certified all of their dispatchers as "Emergency Medical Dispatchers", a certification given after a 16 hour class is given on using their system. The system utilized a "flip-file" where the dispatcher would go to certain marked cards in the file based on the answers given by the caller to some standardized questions. Instructions would be given to the caller directly from the card. Around 2000, Fire-Rescue dispatch moved from the "Medical Priority" system to the APCO EMD Program. Fire-Rescue is still currently using the APCO system. Response determinants[37] are not used in the current system.

Current EMS Zones

  • Zone 1 - Atlantic Ocean west to Florida's Turnpike, Martin County south to 45th Street, and Florida's Turnpike west to the mid-county line (20-mile bend), Martin County south to Hypoluxo Road.
  • Zone 2 - Atlantic Ocean west to Florida's Turnpike, 45th Street south to the Broward County Line, and Florida's Turnpike west to the mid-county line (20-mile bend), Hypoluxo Road south to the Broward County line.
  • Zone 3 - (no longer used)
  • Zone 4 - All of Palm Beach County west of the mid-county line (20-mile bend)[38].

Notes and references

  1. ^ Westward Fire District, which covered the community of Westgate, consolidated into Military Park prior to 1984.
  2. ^ Tri-Community Fire District, which covered the Hypoluxo area, consolidated into Reservation prior to 1984.
  3. ^ "Incorporated 1921"
  4. ^ a b c PBCFR began providing fire protection coverage in October 2006. EMS coverage began on January 7, 2008.
  5. ^ a b October 1, 2009.
  6. ^ http://www.pbcfr.org/stations.asp
  7. ^ ALS Engines and Quints, until March 2007, were using the unit ID of either "Rescue Engine" or "Rescue Quint". In order to come in line with the National Incident Management System (NIMS), the "Rescue" portion of the ID was dropped. Now, they are all called "Engine" or "Quint", and are flagged as having ALS capability in the CAD system.
  8. ^ If the unit is an ALS engine, two of the crewmembers must be paramedics.
  9. ^ Certain trucks do not have the EMT position filled as of yet. On some units this is a "trainee" spot for Firefighter/Paramedics doing probationary ride time and being evaluated by a proctor.
  10. ^ All firefighters assigned at the two Special Operations stations are certified as Hazardous Materials Technicians.
  11. ^ Supposedly, this was named after Mayor Kelly of Chicago back in the 1930's who gave the firefighters an "extra" day off. The day was named in his honor. [1]
  12. ^ The "Fill" alarm is discontinued as of 11/1/2007, with additional units being sent on the first alarm assignment.
  13. ^ Effective 11/1/2007.
  14. ^ This needs to be verified.
  15. ^ Some other signals that are used informally, which also correspond to the state police "signals", are "Signal 2" (under the influence of alcohol) and "Signal 20" (an emotionally disturbed or violent psychiatric person). The 10-code "10-24", the Florida law enforcement code for "Officer in Trouble", is also used by a crew who is in immediate need of help by law enforcement.
  16. ^ Effective October 29, 2006
  17. ^ As of 10/1/2009
  18. ^ "Paramedic Assessment" Engines
  19. ^ Paramedic rescue-ambulances
  20. ^ An "either/or" unit, also called a "shared crew" or "shared resource" unit, is an ALS Engine and an ALS Rescue staffed by a total of 3 personnel. If the call is a fire call, all 3 take the Engine. If the call is a medical call, all 3 take the Rescue. The other unit is then placed out of service until the crew arrives back at the station.
  21. ^ A "Rescue Pumper", or "Fire Rescue Vehicle", is a rescue-ambulance that has a pump, 200 gallons of water, and a limited amount of hose.
  22. ^ Special Operations units are combination Hazardous Materials, High-Angle Rescue, Confined Space Rescue, and Dive Rescue teams. Some cities call them Squads (San Francisco), Rescues (FDNY), or USAR (LAFD) units.
  23. ^ The 5 Aircraft Rescue & FireFighting Crash Trucks are in service at Palm Beach International Airport.
  24. ^ Foam 81 is in service at Palm Beach International Airport for Aircraft Rescue & FireFighting (ARFF).
  25. ^ These are owned by the PBC Health Care District, and the pilots are PBC HCD employees, but the medic and flight nurse are PBCFR firefighters.
  26. ^ Information obtained from http://www.fire-vols.org/
  27. ^ In the mid 1990s this service was taken over by Jupiter Medical Center and became Jupiter Medical Center EMS. In the late 1990s Jupiter Medical Center EMS was taken over by American Medical Response.
  28. ^ In the early 1990s Inter-City Ambulance suffered financial problems and shortly afterward went out of business. North County Ambulance took over their area. Palm Beach Gardens Fire-Rescue started transporting their own patients shortly afterward.
  29. ^ Medics Ambulance Service, based in Fort Lauderdale, provided coverage in "Zone 11" after Inter-City went out of business for about a year. They were banned from providing services in the County due to several issues. They have since been allowed back into the County and are now one of two private ambulance services currently in operation, the other being American Medical Response.
  30. ^ In the late 1980s, Everglades Memorial Hospital started their own ambulance service to cover Zones 9 and 10. They remained in existence until the November of 1999 when they were taken over by American Medical Response.
  31. ^ In the late 1980s JFK ambulance was taken over by Atlantic Ambulance.
  32. ^ In the late 1980s Bethesda Hospital in Boynton Beach, Florida started their own ambulance service and took over AA Ambulance. Bethesda Ambulance was eventually taken over by American Medical Response in the early 1990s.
  33. ^ Medics Ambulance Service is doing the BLS transport for the areas listed above on the east side of the Turnpike south to Lantana Road. American Medical Response is doing the BLS transport for the remaining areas covered by Fire-Rescue.
  34. ^ Only a small portion of Station 46's area falls into this zone.
  35. ^ Only a portion of Station 48's area falls into this zone.
  36. ^ Now called "Priority Dispatch".
  37. ^ A "Response Determinant" is how units are to respond to calls. Usually, they are given as "Hot" (lights, siren) or "Cold" (no lights, no siren) in a system that uses determinants, but in Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, every medical call is responded to with a "Hot" response (also called Code 3 response).
  38. ^ "PBCFR took over all EMS responsibilities for Zone 4 on January 6, 2008, so this zone is no longer used

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