Delivering emergency medical services through fire departments
Richard Serino started out as a volunteer on the Boston City Hospital Ambulance squad in the 1970s. In fact, Serino attended the first EMT class held in Massachusetts in 1973 and the first paramedic class in New England in 1978. Later, he became chief of the department of Boston EMS and held that position for 10 years. Now, he serves as FEMA’s deputy administrator. Serino recently spoke exclusively to FIRE CHIEF about how EMS is an essential component of FEMA’s response to large-scale incidents.
Based on your decades-long service, what trends have you witnessed in EMS — specifically in fire departments?
EMS has certainly grown. I started in the early ’70s, when EMS consisted of a stretcher, an oxygen tank, a basic first-aid kit, and that was all you had. You went from using a Life Pack 4 — your older readers will remember it — which was a heavy piece of equipment used as an EKG machine. Now, we have Life Pack 12 and are doing 12-lead EKGs.
With EMS, you have to keep current because medicine changes. You have to keep up with medical changes throughout the years.
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