Oxnard Fire Department provides Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to the community 24 hours a day. Fire stations are strategically located throughout the city, to insure a quick response to all emergencies. Oxnard firefighters are certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and are highly trained to handle any medical problem or traumatic injury.
EMS begins with a call to 9-1-1. Trained dispatchers answer the call for help, dispatch the emergency personnel (both fire department and ambulance) and begin a process called Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). The EMD process includes a series of questions designed to assist the dispatchers in helping the 9-1-1 callers. Callers should be prepared to give the following information:
- Location of the victim
- Callback number (phone number they are calling from)
- Nature of the problem (e.g. chest pain, seizure, fall with back pain)
- Answers to some specific questions such as “Is the victim awake?” and “Is he breathing normally?”
The dispatcher will notify or dispatch the firefighters and ambulance crew and give them some helpful information about the nature of the call. The EMD trained dispatcher will then give the caller some first aid advice and instructions designed to help the victim and prevent further problems. The dispatchers are an important part of our EMS team and provide a very important service.
The fire department and ambulance personnel will arrive at the scene of the incident as soon as safely possible. Oxnard Fire Department firefighters work to maintain a rapid response time. We strive for a response time of 5 minutes 90% of the time. During an emergency, while waiting for the EMS response, minutes can seem like hours. If the problem is not life threatening, the firefighters may respond without their lights flashing and sirens wailing. This type of response may slightly delay their arrival, but is a safer response for the firefighters and the other drivers on our city streets. Of course, if the emergency is life threatening, rest assured the firefighters will respond as quickly and safely as possible.
The Oxnard firefighter/EMTs will provide initial emergency care to the victim of illness or injury. This emergency care may include basic first aid, such as bandaging or splinting, or life-saving treatment such as airway and breathing management or CPR. The firefighters work along with the paramedics from Gold Coast Ambulance to stabilize and treat the injured or ill person(s) and transport them as soon as possible to the hospital.
Oxnard Fire Department also provides early defibrillation to victims of sudden cardiac arrest through our Automatic External Defibrillation (AED) program. Sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops beating and circulating blood. The pulse stops, breathing ceases and the person collapses. Many victims of sudden cardiac arrest can survive if they receive a “shock” within minutes of collapse. This shock is called defibrillation. The faster the shock is delivered, the better chance of survival. Oxnard Fire Department works to continuously improve survival of these victims by quickly bringing an AED and experienced rescue personnel to their side.
To maintain their knowledge and skills, Oxnard Fire Department EMTs undergo rigorous training and must attend continuing education classes through the year. The EMS Coordinator, a registered nurse, oversees the education and performance of the EMTs. Basic medical and emergency care is reviewed and practiced and skills are tested to ensure the EMTs are delivering the best care possible.