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Rescue Ambulances

The Pasadena Fire Department operates Advanced Life Support (ALS) Rescue Ambulances (“RAs”) out of five of their eight fire stations, staffed by two firefighter paramedics. One of the main missions of the EMS Reserve is to provide volunteer Emergency Medical Technicians to work on these Rescue Ambulances alongside the two paid firefighter paramedics, thereby creating a 3-person team.

During normal operations, the Pasadena Fire Department will, at a minimum, send a Rescue Ambulance and Paramedic Engine to most medical calls. Should the attending firefighter paramedic need assistance in treating the patient en route to a hospital, a member of the Engine will accompany the Rescue Ambulance crew, with the Engine following the ambulance to the hospital. When an EMS Reserve is working, the Engine does not need to assign a member to the Ambulance, does not need to follow to the hospital, and can quickly clear the scene, becoming available for service (unless an additional paramedic is needed).

In the case of larger incidents, such as fires, traffic collisions and multi-casualty incidents, the Incident Commander does not need to sacrifice an Engine or Truck resource for patient treatment (again, unless an additional paramedic is needed).

Since EMS Reserve members are not firefighters, and are strictly EMS focused, they can also be utilized at a fireground to provide immediate Basic Life Support (BLS) to injured victims while the firefighter paramedics are performing fire operations.


EMS Reserve Duties on the Rescue Ambulance

While working on a Rescue Ambulance, EMS Reserve members operate as full and trusted members of the crew. They are expected to, and constantly do, perform any and all of the duties within the “Los Angeles County EMT-I Expanded Scope of Practice” in a manner that reflects the Pasadena Fire Department’s motto of “Accountability. Integrity. Flexibility.”

An EMS Reserve working on a Rescue Ambulance may expect to perform any of the following functions:

  • Taking vital signs
  • Assessing and treating medical and trauma patients
  • Performing airway management
  • Performing CPR and ventilations
  • Immobilizing trauma patients
  • Setting up for, and assisting with, ALS procedures

Scheduling Shifts

A non-probationary EMS Reserve member may elect to work any shift, at any ALS Rescue Ambulance equipped station within Pasadena. Shifts are not assigned, and the EMS Reserve member may work whenever they are able, as long as they work between 4 and 24 hours.

All Pasadena fire stations are equipped with co-ed dormitory facilities, so all EMS Reserves can work overnight, with the station Captain’s permission.

To schedule a shift, an EMS Reserve contacts the E.M.S.R Coordinator at least 24 hours in advance and requests a station and shift of their choosing. If that particular station and shift is unavailable, the Reserve will be directed to another station.