Ministry of the
Solicitor General

OFM - 04-18-12

Basic Medical Assistance Responses

Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Subject Coding

PFSG 04-18-12


Emergency Response


January 1998


Basic Medical Assistance Responses


Under Review


To familiarize policy makers with the requirements of providing basic medical assistance response capabilities



  • Fire department participation in medical assistance responses varies greatly from municipality to municipality.
  • These activities range from training fire fighters in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) , to operating first response units (pumpers, rescue vans) and further to advanced life support response units (equipped with resuscitators, automatic defibrillators) and personnel; and providing public education and training of citizens in the techniques of first aid and CPR.



For the purposes of this guideline only, a basic medical assistance response is defined as:
"the provision of treatment to citizens and fire fighters, including first aid and CPR and other elementary procedures for which the fire fighters are trained and equipped, prior to the arrival of the ambulance service, or transfer to a hospital or other health care facility".



  • Municipal fire departments seem to be a natural source of medical aid responders, because they often have a sizeable body of reliable, trained, and disciplined personnel operating within an existing command structure, operating from fire stations strategically located throughout the communities, and holding the confidence of the public.
  • In many instances, fire departments have faster response time capabilities than the ambulance service(s), thus bringing pressure upon policy makers to provide such services.

Service Delivery Considerations:

Prior to a final determination as to whether or not to provide such a service, or the implementation of same, the following subject matter must be addressed:

  • Budget impact
  • Planning
  • Staffing
  • Vehicles
  • Equipment
  • Training
  • Goals and objectives
  • Operational guidelines
  • Response criteria


Related Functions/Considerations:

Impact on the Delivery of Fire Protection Services


Codes, Standards, Best Practices:

Text here. Codes, Standards, and Best Practices resources available to assist in establishing local policy on this assessment are listed below. All are available at Please feel free to copy and distribute this document. We ask that the document not be altered in any way, that the Office of the Fire Marshal be credited and that the documents be used for non-commercial purposes only.

  • Tiered Response Guidelines Province of Ontario 1997