Normal Fire Department ambulances are staffed with two paramedics. Based on information our dispatch center receives prior to our arrival, we may need more equipment or manpower to properly care for the patient. Sometimes the condition of the patient may require both paramedics to work on the patient in the back of the ambulance or sometimes the paramedics need assistance moving the patient to the ambulance.
The engine company is sent to calls where the likelihood of that situation is the greatest. The engine company provides additional manpower and additional help for the paramedics if it is needed at the call. If the engine is not needed, it is returned to service.
Also, our engine companies carry medical equipment on board. Depending on where the call is, the engine may be closer to the call than the responding ambulance. In this case, the engine company acts as the first responder to assess the patient condition and prepare the patient for transport when the ambulance arrives.