Why does the Fire Department respond with a fire engine and an ambulance to a seemingly minor vehicle accident? It seems like an inefficient use of resources and waste of money.

The Fire Chief’s number one responsibility is the safety of our firefighters.  One of the most dangerous places for firefighters to respond is on the roadway at the scene of a vehicle accident.  Across the nation, numerous firefighters and police officers have been killed or injured on the scene of an accident after being struck by other vehicles.  One role of the fire engine is to serve as a barrier between the traffic and first responders.

Also, sometimes the fire engine/truck is the closest unit to the call for assistance and is dispatched as a first responder to begin assisting those possibly injured.  

Additionally, the following facts must be considered:

1.Most 911 callers provide very limited information … I was just passing by and saw an accident and I cannot provide any further details.
2.How do you describe a “minor accident”? – It is difficult to determine the extent of any injuries from just viewing damage to the vehicle.
3.Is the “minor accident” the result of a medical event?  Cardiac issue, stroke, drug overdose, etc.  Units may arrive to find minor damage but a patient with a serious medical emergency.
4.Is the vehicle leaking fuel or other fluids?  (Environmental concerns)
5.Is it a propane powered vehicle?
6.Is it an electric car?  Any movement?  (Need to chock the wheels)

The response of the fire engine addresses many functions on the scene of a vehicle accident.

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1. Does the Fire Department sell or give away patches or t-shirts.
2. Does the Fire Department perform CPR and first aid training?
3. How can I become a firefighter or paramedic?
4. Does the Fire Department conduct child car safety seat checks?
5. Do you offer station tours or host children's birthday parties?
6. What do I do with any expired or surplus fireworks and flares for proper and safe disposal?
7. How do I obtain a copy of the fire codes currently being enforced?
8. Where can I view the Maryland Fire Prevention Code?
9. How can I get a copy of my fire report?
10. Why doesn’t the Fire Department respond in a less costly Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) in place of a fire engine to EMS/medical calls or vehicle accidents?
11. Why does the Fire Department respond with a fire engine and an ambulance to a seemingly minor vehicle accident? It seems like an inefficient use of resources and waste of money.