City of Red Wing

Why do the ambulance and fire truck respond to the same call?

Red Wing’s firefighter/paramedics are cross trained to respond to fire and emergency medical incidents. Emergency medical equipment is carried on all, first response, vehicles so that medical care can be initiated immediately, regardless of what vehicle arrives first.  

The department responds to calls in a tiered system based on the nature of the call.  

When responding to a minor medical incident (ex. fracture, back pain, illness), only an ambulance will respond to the scene. Typically there are two firefighter/paramedics on board. 

When responding to a major medical incident, (ex. chest pain, cardiac arrest, difficulty breathing, seizure), the fire truck will follow the ambulance to the scene. Typically there are two firefighter/paramedics in each vehicle.  

This initial response provides the minimum number of responders required to address the critical needs of these patients. If the patient’s condition requires additional medical personnel during transport to the hospital, one or both of the firefighters arriving on the fire truck will assist with patient care while en-route to the hospital. If the patient is stabilized on scene and no further assistance is needed, the firefighters arriving on the fire truck remain in service and available for subsequent calls.  

When responding to a motor vehicle crash, the fire truck will follow the ambulance to the scene. Typically there are two firefighter/paramedics on each vehicle. Firefighters arriving on the ambulance immediately begin assessing the medical needs of the patient(s). Firefighters arriving on the fire truck evaluate and address hazards associated with scene safety (fuel spills, power lines, traffic, etc.) prior to assisting with patient care or extricating patients from vehicles.  

When responding to a fire incident, the ambulance follows the fire truck. Firefighter/paramedics arriving in the ambulance typically function as firefighters, performing assigned fire suppression activities. However, when individuals with injuries are found on arrival, the firefighters responding in the ambulance are immediately available to provide emergency medical care.

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