Ambulances Added to Support Wildland Fire Crews

May 13th, 2020

Steamboat Springs, CO: EMS Unlimited is a Veteran Owned, Colorado based provider of Emergency Medical Services that range from ambulance response, special event standby, training, consulting and wildfire support. As 2020 moves into spring and summer we recognize there is one thing COVID19 cannot cancel, wildfire season. Now more than ever, EMS agencies across the country are evaluating their capacity and availability to support wildland fire teams. EMS Unlimited is prepared to meet this need with ambulances and Line Medics.

EMS wildland fire teamEMS Unlimited began supporting wildfire operations in 2018 with qualified Line Medics, this year two ambulances specifically dedicated for fires have been added to the order list. There are now two Type I, 4×4 ambulances in addition to Line Medics with 4×4 trucks/SUVs ready to serve. Using small class sizes EMS Unlimited has trained and prepared a team of EMTs and Paramedics to staff these ambulances and line deployments. From our staff’s experience, working as a fire medic is incredibly rewarding. It differs from typical EMS Unlimited assignments in that the responders are immersed into the intricate and cohesive world of wildland firefighting and often develop lasting friendships. EMS Unlimited Fire Division Manager, Axel Petersen points out that working as a fire medic is “ one of the most rewarding and challenging things you can do as an EMS professional.” Axel is an experienced wildland firefighter and Paramedic, EMS Unlimited is fortunate to bring his knowledge and technical expertise to our team.

EMS Unlimited is a registered and active SAM entity and listed on BLM Interagency Dispatch Supply and Service Plans. With an ability to immediately dispatch ambulances and line medics from Rifle and Hayden, Colorado, our mission is to support wildfire response teams and reduce impacts on local 911 assets and communities.

Our dedicated wildfire ambulances are equipped with all of the standard EMS equipment as required by the state of Colorado in addition to wildfire specific items such as hand tools, fire shelters, and wildfire personal protective equipment (PPE). Additionally, EMS Unlimited is prepared for long-term, self sufficient deployments with tents, sleeping bags and MREs (Meals Ready to Eat. Added PPE to protect our team and firefighters from the COVID19 Pandemic is also part of inventory. Our EMS wildfire response team members are Paramedics and EMTs who have been trained and certified in accordance with the National Wildfire Coordination Group (NWCG). These certifications include S-130, S-190 and other FEMA/NIMS qualifications as required, otherwise referred to as “Red Card”.

Our mission is to best meet the needs of the incident and fire teams with professional and compassionate clinical care. In addition to dedicated Ambulances EMS Unlimited has equipped and trained Line Medics. Line Medics deploy to be fully self-sufficient with required medical supplies and wildland support gear as recommended by the NWCG and USFS. Each Medic responds to an incident with a 4×4 vehicle to contain their personal and professional equipment. All dispatched EMS Unlimited staff have passed an arduous work capacity test, Line Medics will be prepared to hike and move on foot wherever they are needed. The arduous work capacity test consists of briskly walking 3 miles with a 45 pound weight vest or pack in less than 45 minutes.

A tradition at EMS Unlimited that we enjoy is giving each ambulance a name. The current fleet consists of Francine, Charlene, Laurale and Conrad. While Charlene and Conrad are set aside specifically for wildfire response, Laurale is also a Type 1 4wd ambulance that can be deployed as well. EMS Unlimited is excited to have these two ambulances dedicated to supporting our fire crews, and we expect them to be in use all season. We have expanded our area of service to include all of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, New Mexico, and Kansas. EMS Unlimited will be available to go elsewhere for critical incidents if requested. Our ambulance crews are on-call and expect to be in the field for anything from a few days to weeks.

EMS Unlimited has focused its experienced and professional leadership team on preparing for the 2020 wildfire season. “I could not be more proud of everyone on our team, from the leadership to the dedicated EMTs and Paramedics who have put together an amazing program.” said President and Paramedic Ebin Latrimurti.

The company was founded in 2012 as a dedicated service to special events, specifically biking and running events in remote mountain areas. Over the years EMS Unlimited has grown and adapted to service all types of events, provide medical training and consulting and operate 24/7 Advanced Life Support (ALS) ground ambulances. As festivals and athletic events continue to face difficult cancellation decisions due to COVID-19, EMS Unlimited will remain an active provider of #allthingsEMS and remain ready to serve special events when safe to do so. We are grateful for the tireless work of our peers on the front lines of 911 response and hope to work as effective partners with them as fire season approaches.