TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Even though the name of the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department implies battling fires, about 90 percent of the actual runs members of TFD go on, are emergency medical and not fire related.
Last year Toledo Fire and Rescue Crews went on over 60,000 total runs. Of those runs, more 53,000 were for medical emergencies.
"We are the first responders, heart attack, traffic accident or anything else. We are EMTs and medics to get on the scene first and assess the patient," explained Captain Doug Palicki with TFD.
But with medical calls increasing by 50 percent since 2000, they can be taxing on firefighters and time consuming.
"It's physically draining its mentally draining a lot of times you spend time doing the transport when you could be back in service," said Palicki.
With Toledo fire going on all these runs, one thing that will make it easier is patients will be transported to the nearest hospital. In the past they could choose the hospital they went to.
When someone calls 911 and needs medical help no matter how minor,TFD is dispatched
"Sometimes they don't have their own ride to the hospital. They may just have flu symptoms, something I'd get a ride myself, but maybe their car isn't working, they don't have any family to fall back on so they call 911 and that's what we are there for," Palicki said.
Some runs may start out minor, but TFD may quickly find out that the patient needs extra medical attention. That is a reason why TFD responds to all calls.
"It can be a mental strain because people are calling you and there is a need they need you so that can cause a strain but we are there to help," said TFD's Lieutenant Terrence Glaze