The UConn Health Fire Department Paramedic Program has provided quality medical care to the residents of the Farmington Valley since 1972. It currently has contracts with the towns of Farmington and Canton to provide the primary paramedic service to their communities and a contract with the town of Avon to provide secondary paramedic service, or services when its primary paramedics are unavailable. Additionally, UConn Health medics will provide mutual aid services to any agency that is in need of a paramedic, generally an agency that is transporting to UConn Health or to a city hospital where the agency will be passing near UConn Health. Currently, 14 out of 20 staff members at UConn Health are licensed paramedics.
The UConn Fire Department operates a paramedic intercept service, that is, its paramedics respond to medical emergencies in a non-transport vehicle and meet with a transporting service. If the patient requires an advanced level of care, the UConn Fire Department paramedic will board the transport vehicle to provide the required paramedic care enroute to the destination hospital. Currently, UConn Health paramedics operate out of one vehicle, Rescue 2, a Chevrolet 3500 is outfitted with a Swab utility box to store the required medical equipment, as well as fire equipment because firefighting is a collateral duty for the paramedics. Rescue 2 is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with two paramedics, the “rescue driver” and “rescue technician.” The technician is responsible for all primary medical calls and will ride to the hospital with the transporting service. The driver is responsible for operating the rescue to calls, picking up the technician from their destination hospital, and for any secondary calls for service while the technician is unavailable. In the case of a secondary call, the rescue driver will respond to the emergency and transport if required.
The overall staffing minimum for the UConn Health Fire Department is two firefighter/paramedics assigned to Rescue 2 and two firefighters assigned to Engine 1. There are times when the firefighters assigned to Engine 1 are also paramedics. The UConn Fire Department is committed to providing the highest level of quality medical response, maintaining contractual obligations, and ensuring adequate public safety coverage to UConn Health’s campus. As calls for service are constantly increasing, there are times when both paramedics on Rescue 2 are committed to other medical calls and unable to respond to additional requests for paramedic service. When faced with this request, if an engine paramedic is available, Engine 1 will respond to local contiguous areas and provide the paramedic to the community.
Beginning on October 1, 2014, the UConn Farmington campus received designation as a Primary Service Area by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Office of Emergency Medical Services. With this designation, UConn Health Fire Department began transporting patients with medical emergencies on its campus. A 2014 Mercedes/AEV Type II ambulance was purchased for this purpose.