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EMS History

In 1974, the Hussey Hospital transferred its ambulance service and four drivers to the Fall River Fire Department. These four drivers were placed with certified Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) and the state's first licensed EMS system began.


On July 1, 1975, the first Division of Emergency Medical Services was established in the Fire Department. This was accomplished through the efforts of then-Fire Chief Louis A. Shea, Jr. A month later, the Department purchased two modular ambulances and hired civilian EMTs to work with Hussey Hospital personnel and firefighters, enabling the Fire Department to put two front line ambulances in service. The total number of calls averaged around 1,600 at this time.


In 1992, Fire Chief Edward J. Dawson, in cooperation with local hospitals, initiated measures to upgrade the service in order to properly address the continually increasing medical demands of the city by incorporating an Advanced Life Support (ALS) component to the present system. A third ambulance was also added to meet the needs of the city's residents.


The ALS system, which commenced operation on February 6, 1993, has greatly enhanced medical care in the field by bringing many of the components of the emergency room directly to the patient on the field. Fall River has become one of the only major fire departments in Southeastern Massachusetts to have an ALS service delivered to the public through its fire department.


In July 2004, a fourth ambulance was brought into service. The city's four ambulances are staffed with paramedics with Advanced Life Support training.