1. Why do so many vehicles and people respond to my emergency? Isn't this a duplication of services and a waste of tax payer's money?
A Basic Life Support vehicle usually responds to all emergency calls. The BLS vehicle could be anything from a Fire Engine with 3 Firefighters, as in Nampa, Caldwell, and Middleton or an ambulance- like vehicle as in Melba, Wilder, Marsing, or Homdale are usually staffed with 2-3 EMTs. An Advanced Life Support vehicle from Canyon County Paramedics also responds. This ensures a rapid response of skilled personnel with life sustaining equipment in the early stages of the call, plus the more advanced skills and transportation of a Paramedic staffed ambulance. Serious emergencies in an Emergency Room are treated by a staff of up to 10 people, similarly serious emergencies on the street require adequate manpower and equipment to provide the level of care that the people of Canyon County expect and deserve. Once a trained responder is on scene and the emergency is determined to be of a minor nature the other responding vehicles may be canceled prior to their arrival.
2. Sometimes I see a Canyon County Ambulance or Fire Truck running with lights and siren suddenly turn off their lights and siren and slow to normal traffic speed or turn around. Are they just practicing?
Frequently, emergency vehicles respond to calls which clearly are not emergencies. When the first arriving emergency vehicle finds that this is the case or the caller gives more information to dispatch that makes this clear, the dispatcher will immediately contact the responding units by radio and cancel their response. Emergency vehicles take the safety of the public very seriously and since there is an increased traffic risk anytime an emergency vehicle responds with lights they will immediately cancel their "code" response if there is no need to respond quickly.
3. Why do I have to pay an ambulance bill when I pay property taxes and the EMS fee on my car license?
Unlike other public agencies such as the fire or police departments whose budgets are 100% publicly funded, only 30% of the budget for the Canyon County Paramedics is funded by public money. The remainder of the budget, (about 70%), is collected in the form of fees to the users. These fees are only assessed if a patient is transported by the ambulance or receives medications at the scene. Patients who are evaluated at the scene and choose not to utilize the ambulance are not charged. The tax moneys utilized by the budget ensure that an ambulance is always available to respond to your emergency and helps keep user fees reasonable.
4. What is the difference between an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and a Paramedic?
An EMT provides basic life support (BLS) in pre-hospital settings when a medical emergency occurs. BLS includes CPR, oxygen administration, airway obstruction help, spinal immobilization and bleeding control. A Paramedic provides advanced life support (ALS) in pre-hospital settings. Paramedics receive advanced training and can administer medication and perform other more-invasive procedures in medical emergencies.
5. What happens when I call 911?
When you have a medical emergency and dial 911, the first thing you will be asked is “What’s your emergency?” Ideally, you should tell the 911 dispatcher exactly what your emergency is. For example, if you witnessed a car accident, you would say: “There’s a car accident at…” and provide location details. Based on what your responses are to the dispatcher’s questions, they will determine whether to send an ambulance, a fire truck, or the police.
Your phone number will be verified in the event that the dispatcher needs to reach you after you hang up. If you ever dial 911 by mistake, do NOT just hang up. It’s very important to tell the dispatcher that it was a mistake. All 911 hang-up calls are called back to ensure it is not a situation where someone is truly in trouble, but was interrupted (like in a hostage situation or a domestic violence case.) If the dispatcher calls again and is unable to reach you, an officer will be sent to the location showing on the dispatcher’s screen.
6. How many hours do EMTs and Paramedics work per week?
Fulltime EMTs and Paramedics work 48 hours per week with varying shift schedules. Some work two 12-hour shifts and one 24-hour shift weekly and others work two 24-hour shifts per week.