Emergency Medical Services

Welcome to the EMS Division of Central County Fire

Swat Paramedic VehicleMedical emergencies, including auto accidents, are the Fire Department’s greatest call for service nationwide and at Central County Fire as well. All First-responder fire personnel are trained to the level of Emergency Medical Technician -1 (EMT-1). EMT’s initially receive about 130 hours of medical training and then they must continue to attend classes thereafter to maintain their certification.

In 1995, the then known as “Burlingame and Hillsborough Fire Departments”, were one of the first agencies to increase their public service delivery to include Paramedics. Paramedics receive an additional 1,200 hours of medical training and are also required to attend a minimum of 24 hours of medical training a year to maintain their Paramedic license. Currently Central County Fire has a minimum of 24 personnel working as active Paramedics.

In 1998, a common communication center was established in Redwood City, CA for all 18 (at the time) fire agencies in San Mateo County. With common communications in place, the next logical step to provide increased levels of service to the citizens of San Mateo County was to dispatch the closest available Fire Engine or Fire Truck Company. Every Fire Engine in San Mateo County was to be staffed with at least one (1) Paramedic. Prior to this plan, there were only 10 ambulances covering the area from Menlo Park to Daly City staffed with two Paramedics. After this establishment of the common communication center and the jurisdictional boundary drops, there is now a minimum of an additional 56 Paramedics on duty each day in San Mateo County, six to ten of these cover the Burlingame and Hillsborough area.

Standardizing policies, procedures and equipment were obvious places to begin the process of reducing the duplication of efforts that previously occurred. Boundary drops led to working more closely with neighboring agencies and the development of joint training programs. Part of the 1998 Model B agreement created 3 zones in San Mateo County: North, Central and South. The Fire Service was also required to have a liaison position to represent each area. Central County Fire hosts the liaison position for the Central agencies: Central County, Foster City, Half Moon Bay, Millbrae and San Mateo Fire Departments.

An additional program that developed as a result of the “shared services concept” evolution was the creation of a cost-neutral position (shared by Central County, Millbrae, San Bruno and San Mateo Fire Departments) to provide required on-going medical training. This program delivers over 36 hours of training per firefighter each year, as well as training new recruits in the Fire Academy and training City personnel in Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
The City of San Mateo hosts this position with other agencies participating both financially and operationally.

In 2003, the (then known as) “Burlingame Fire Department” in conjunction with the Burlingame Police Department added Paramedics to the SWAT Team. The SWAT Team, also a product of shared services, includes members from Brisbane, Burlingame, Foster City, Hillsborough, San Bruno, San Mateo and the South San Francisco Police Departments. The Tactical Paramedics started with three Burlingame Fire Department Paramedics and has now grown into a team of paramedics from Central County, San Bruno, San Mateo and South San Francisco Fire Departments.

The program is overseen by the Medical Director for the team, Dr. Dan Huie. Dr. Huie is a graduate from Stanford University in Medicine and he also has a Stanford University law degree. Central County Fire is fortunate to have Firefighter/Paramedic Ron Novelli who is a Physician’s Assistant (PA) and acts as the Assistant Medical Director for the team.

The Tactical Paramedics train monthly and are activated about 10 – 15 times a year.