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FIRST Center hosting webinar to discuss impact of COVID-19 pandemic on responders

PHILADELPHIA — When we think back to September 11, 2001, we remember the incredible attention paid to the fire service for about a decade thereafter. There was incredible support and acknowledgment of the heroism and sacrifice made by these first responders. However, the EMS part of the fire service did not benefit from this attention. Past history was that people signed up to put “wet stuff on the red stuff” not to be “Florence Nightingale.” Now, 60 to 90% of the work that fire departments do is EMS. And the number of calls from 1980-2016 has gone up 320%, while the number of calls for fires has declined 5% in the same interval.

The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 is EMS’s 9/11. It presents an opportunity to revisit what EMS needs to serve communities well, while at the same time protecting the mental and physical health of those who respond. Fire-based EMS departments can run out of ambulances on any given day under normal conditions. The coronavirus pandemic is shining a light on a system under incredible stress and at the breaking point.

Join FIRST Center as we brainstorm on how to create stability and innovation for those who serve. Advance reading FREE download: “A Strained 9-1-1 System and Threats to Public Health” at

The free webinar, titled “EMS’s 9/11: Where will we go after coronavirus? Opportunities to strengthen an overwhelmed EMS public health safety net,” will be held on Thursday, April 23 from 4-5 p.m. EST. You can register here.

The webinar will feature panelists from several fire and EMS service entities:

1. Introduction

  • Dr. Jennifer Taylor, Director, Center for Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends (FIRST), Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University


  • EMS Battalion Chief Dan Froelich, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department [confirmed]

  • Administrative Lieutenant Robert Borse, Dallas Fire-Rescue EMS Council Chair and IAFF 58 [confirmed]

  • Deputy Commissioner Crystal Yates, Philadelphia Fire Department

3. Advocacy for fire-based EMS needs: Equipment, apparatus and staffing

  • Dr. William Jenaway, Congressional Fire Services Institute Board of Directors President [confirmed]
  • Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell, President & CEO Public Safety Data Standards Institute [confirmed]

  • Robert McClintock, Deputy Director of Fire & EMS Operations, Technical Assistance and Information Resources International Association of Fire Fighters [confirmed]
  • Chief Gary Ludwig, President and Chairman of the Board of the International Association of Fire Chiefs

4. Ideas for EMS standards development

  • John Montes, Emergency Services Specialist, National Fire Protection Association [confirmed]

  • Mr. Casey Grant, PE, Executive Director DSRAE LLC & Executive Director (retired) Fire Protection Research Foundation [confirmed]

5. Discussion and closing comments

  • Dr. Jennifer Taylor, Director, Center for Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends (FIRST), Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University

About the Center for Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends
The Center for Firefighter Injury Research & Safety Trends (FIRST) is a research enterprise at the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA comprised of data scientists, epidemiologists, and psychologists. FIRST supports the fire and rescue service through objective data collection and analysis on safety culture, stress, mental health, and injury. All research and practice responds to the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives and is inclusive of all fire departments: career, volunteer, urban, and rural. FIRST developed two tools currently in use: the Firefighter Organizational Culture of Safety (FOCUS) survey, and the Stress and Violence against fire-based EMS Responders (SAVER) System-level Checklist.