Yesterday we discussed how to determine if you should categorize department responses into fire or ambulance.
The next question is, how do you determine if the call is an ambulance call or a fire call?
There is no 100% correct answer - it is a case-by-case basis that must be determined locally.
If the determining factor is whether or not an ambulance arrives at the emergency, then likely all calls would be an ambulance call, since ambulances even show up at a structure fire.
Typically, the division is based on the primary nature of the call, or the "lead" agency on the call. If it is a person in medical distress that requires treatment and likely a trip to the hospital, then it is classified as an ambulance call. A structure fire or responding to smoke alarm would be a fire call.
The more difficult situation is an auto accident, since in this case it is often a dual-purpose alarm. The fire department is needed to secure the area, direct traffic, and in extreme cases use a Hurst tool to cut someone out. But in that extreme case, the person in the car will likely need medical attention and a ride to the hospital.
Unfortunately, for LOSAP purposes, there is no such thing as a "dual response" call - just fire or ambulance. So locally, the sponsor will have to determine to classify an auto accident as a fire or an ambulance call. Most classify it as a fire, but not always.
The important thing is to make sure the volunteers know how certain calls will be classified. It could be a good idea to use existing National Fire Incident Reporting codes, and assign each code to fire or ambulance. This way, a volunteer knows what type of response credit he/she will receive.
Sharing my thoughts and insights on LOSAP, and occasionally other topics.