N.M. Fire Department Launches Community Paramedicine Program
Apr. 21—City officials on Friday said they hope "significant restructuring" at the Albuquerque Fire Department will result in a more efficient response to calls.
Because 87 percent of emergencies the department responds to are medical, officials are establishing measures to ensure the department can more efficiently respond to those calls.
The restructure includes creating a community paramedicine program that officials said would decrease the amount of emergency medical service calls by proactively visiting at-risk communities ahead of an emergency call and boosting a unit that ensures emergencies have needed resources to address medical calls.
Albuquerque Fire Department Chief Paul Dow said the restructuring also includes making administrative cuts at the top to ensure more funds are available for on-the-ground services.
"We now have new divisions with a more appropriate division of labor for each Deputy Chief," Dow said. "We had deputy chiefs that were managing too many divisions, so we spread that out. We also wanted to start some new programs. We wanted to start the community EMS program and we wanted to expand ourselves into the Office of Emergency Management as well and have a liaison. In order to do that we had to expand the roles of the deputy chiefs."
Mayor Tim Keller said in a statement this new structure will allow the department to deliver more efficient services.
"In addition to protecting critical firefighting response times, the community paramedicine program will help make the best use of resources by providing targeted care to indigent and distressed populations in underserved areas of our community," Keller said.
In a related item, the department promoted the first woman to the rank of deputy chief during a Friday ceremony at the Sid Cutter Pavilion.
Emily Jaramillo has served in the department for 12 years. Her duties have included serving as a paramedic for 10 years, lieutenant and most recently as a captain at Fire Station 14. Jaramillo's new duties include heading the Community Paramedicine Program.
More than 50 members were promoted to various ranks at the ceremony, which also recognized several members who have performed exceptional duties, both on and off the job.