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'Curious' Why Ladder Trucks Sent On Medical Calls

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'Curious' Why Ladder Trucks Sent On Medical CallsWBZ

John in Chatham is curious. He wants to know why a Boston Fire ladder truck was dispatched to a medical situation last week instead of an ambulance. That ladder truck ended up crashing into an apartment complex on Huntington Avenue in Boston, killing Lt. Kevin Kelley.

WBZ’s Karen Anderson asked John’s question to Boston Fire Department spokesperson Steve MacDonald.

MacDonald says there are twice as many fire trucks than ambulances, which means the response time is faster if a fire truck responds. For example: In Brighton/Allston, there is one ambulance and five fire trucks.
The city’s fire trucks are staffed with trained firefighters and EMTs with oxygen and defibrillators, MacDonald said.

The truck usually arrives on scene first – within four minutes on average — and is able to stabilize the victim until the ambulance arrives.

Ladder trucks and engines take turns responding to medical calls, MacDonald explained, because the department wants to keep the ladder truck firefighters proficient. If the department only sent out engines, ladder truck operators would not get enough practice responding to medical emergencies.

© MMX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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