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Fire Departments, Emergency Medical Services, and Emergency Management Agencies

NCJ Number
Timothy R. S. Campbell
Date Published
5 pages
This paper examines the roles in critical incident response of fire departments, emergency medical services, and emergency management agencies.
Fire departments have historically been the first responders to incidents of disaster and other major emergencies at the municipal level of American government. In recent years, Emergency Medical Services, either as part of the fire service or as a third service, have joined the response team. With the integration of public works agencies into disaster response, the need for coordination and combined planning helped raise the civil defense/emergency management component into the role of governmental coordinator of responses. Fire departments have added new skills and equipment to their inventory, allowing them to adapt to new missions such as vehicle rescue, hazardous materials incidents, and emergency medical care. The paper considers the possibility that United States governmental and public safety personnel must begin to think like the terrorist in planning and training for possible attack. They must analyze the American way of doing business and determine what actions and capabilities are usable during an attack.