There are several reasons why a fire engine may respond to a medical call. It is important to remember that firefighters in York County are cross-trained in emergency medical care.
Serious medical situations may require the application of multiple procedures. The additional assistance provided by department members from the fire engine often contributes to the patient care and treatment process as well as reduces the time it takes the patient to reach the hospital. Additionally, the fire engine is staffed with a cross-trained supervisor (typically a paramedic) who can also assist the family (or bystanders) as well as oversee the entire patient care process.
Frequently, the patient may be located in an area where access is difficult, and/or moving the patient to the ambulance may require more than just the medic crew such as from an upper floor area or remote areas, etc.. By having sufficient personnel, it provides for a safer movement of the patient while preventing injuries to personnel.
In some cases, the closest ambulance may be committed to another incident, in which case the closest fire engine responds to provide patient care and treatment until the next available ambulance arrives.