Basic Life Support response system progress

On Jan. 16, the second of two Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances was placed in service at the Bend Fire Department’s West Fire Station on Simpson Avenue.

The new BLS system uses Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to respond to less-critical medical calls. In addition to the ambulance operators responding to an incident, a paramedic responds in a separate vehicle called a Quick Response Vehicle to provide Advanced Life Support when necessary.

This new tiered-response system allows the Advanced Life Support medic units to be available for life-threatening emergencies across our response district. Eighty-one percent of Bend Fire Department calls are Emergency Medical Services, and 40 percent of those calls are non-life threatening calls suitable for Emergency Medical Technicians that are in the Basic Life Support ambulances.

In May, 2014, the Bend voters approved a local option levy to reduce response times, increase reliability and increase response efficiency. Response times have decreased in the City of Bend by more than 1 minute and 30 seconds, despite an increase in call volume, tourism and road construction.

This second ambulance marks the culmination of the innovative changes funded by this levy. The first BLS medic and Quick Response Vehicle was placed in service in June. This kept advanced life support apparatus available for life threating emergencies. The Bend Fire Department expects station reliability to continue to increase and response times to decrease with the completion of their new tiered response system.

Bend Fire and Rescue looks forward to continuing to improve its service to Bend residents as a result of this BLS system. For more information, please contact Bend Fire Department EMS Captain Drew Norris at 541-322-6317.

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