Supporting our Pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services


As the trolly count increased in our hospital A&Es, recent days have shown us how much we depend on the effective resourcing of our emergency medical services. However, another crisis is about to emerge in Dublin City and County’s pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services.

We are extremely fortunate to have a world class fire based pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services (EMS) operated by Dublin Fire Brigade. This highly efficient and highly effective service is unique in Ireland but quite common in the US and Canada as well as Europe’s major cities.


Currently Dublin Fire Brigade has 12 ambulances and 23 fire tenders. Both ambulance and fire service crews are fully trained paramedics or advanced paramedics who can bring expert medical care and treatment to the site of any medical emergency. The service includes a call and dispatch service that ensures all crews are effectively deployed to emergencies. Where necessary call & dispatch operators, who are all medically trained, can talk a caller through the administration of CPR until officers arrive.

The service operates on zero down time meaning that ambulances are continuously available 24/7 365 days per year with fire officers deployed to ambulances to cover crew breaks to ensure no break in availability. Last year the service responded to 115,000 calls representing 40% of the national volume, an increase in calls on 2015.


However, an increase in calls and incidents means 12 ambulances are not sufficient to effectively meet needs. Dublin Fire Brigade has evaluated the current situation and indicated that an additional four ambulances would allow the service to safely meet emergency needs arising across its operating area of Dublin City and County.

As Chairperson of Dublin City Council’s Special Committee on Dublin Fire/Ambulance Services and Emergency Management I am presenting an emergency motion to Dublin City Council (Monday 9th January 2017) calling on Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Simon Coveney to make funding available immediately for four additional fully crewed 24/7 ambulances to meet Dublin City and County capacity needs in a safe and effective manner

We currently have a crisis in hospital A&E services, Dublin citizens’ do not need a crisis in pre-hospital emergency medical services!

Text of Motion

That the Members of Dublin City Council acknowledge and commend the effective, integrated, co-ordinated and vital emergency fire and medical service provided by Dublin Fire Brigade to the citizens of Dublin City and the greater Dublin area. The emergency ambulance service in Dublin is a Fire Based Emergency Medical Services (EMS) model which is a unique public safety model reflective of best practice internationally in urban areas and is provided in accordance with Section 25 of the 1981 Fire Services Act. However, the Members note, with concern, that Dublin Fire Brigade Ambulance service is currently operating over capacity, resulting in an unacceptable increase in patient waiting time, and therefore call on DCC management to make an urgent request to the Minister of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government to immediately make funding available for 4 additional fully crewed ambulances to the service, being the minimum number of ambulances needed to meet current and projected short term demand.

The Members also recognise the report of the Expert Panel Report on Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Services Dublin published in December 2015 as an agreed solution to address the recommendations made by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) report into Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Services published in December 2014. However, the Members note, with concern, the suggestion that the Dublin Fire Brigade call and dispatch service based in Tara Street Station would be transferred or amalgamated with the NAS call and dispatch service in Tallaght (not a recommendation of either the 2014 HIQA Report or the Expert Panel Report). In light of the foregoing, the members, through this motion, instruct Dublin City Council management a) to bring any proposal or joint proposal to the attention of the other Dublin local authorities and the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly as required under Sections 32(2) and 32(3) of the Local Government (Dublin) Act 1993 as the exercise of any change will have a material effect on the metropolitan interest and b) not to agree to any change in the current DFB EMS system of operations unless and until a full consultation with Dublin Fire Brigade and its employee representatives, the DCC Special Committee on Fire/Ambulance and Emergency Management and all members be held and that any changes suggested be subject to agreement of the members of this Council.

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One response to “Supporting our Pre-hospital Emergency Medical Services

  1. Pingback: #SupportDFB | Alison Gilliland

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