Emergency Medical Services (EMS)
The Westford Fire Department is proud to be one of the oldest running ambulance services in the Greater Lowell area.
Westford's first ambulance, a 1947 Cadillac, went into service at Fire Headquarters on March 9, 1947. The first ambulances were paid for through donations from the 4H Club. The Westford Ambulance Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was formed as a way to raise money to purchase updated equipment and ambulances for the town. For decades, EMS service in Westford was free of charge to residents, with the service supported solely by funding through donations. Over time, the fund began to see a decrease in donations to a point where the fire department could no longer afford to operate solely on donations. Today, the Westford Fire Department EMS Service operates primarily on money collected from medical insurance, with additional money supplemented by the town through the Fire Department's operating budget. The Westford Ambulance Fund continues to accept donations, and is still able to provide some additional funding for equipment and education for Westford's EMTs and Paramedics.
Advanced Life Support
The Westford Fire Department strives to provide the best service to our residents and visitors. Since 1947, Firefighters and EMT's have worked hard improving their pre-hospital emergency medical care with new technology and education. That's why In 2010, the Fire Department transitioned to providing advanced life support (ALS).
Prior to 2010, Westford Fire ambulances were staffed with Firefighter/EMTs who could provide Basic Life Support, like bandaging, splinting, administer medications like aspirin and epi-pens, provide oxygen and perform basic airway management. When a critically ill or injured patient required additional care before reaching the hospital, Westford Firefighters would often call private ambulance based or hospital based paramedics to intercept with them. There was often a brief delay, or in some cases an intercept could not be made, or the area services were unavailable.
By transition to providing advanced life support with our own paramedics on our own fire department ambulances, it allowed us to bring the latest in pre-hospital emergency medical care to those in our community much faster.
Paramedics undergo thousands of hours of in the classroom, then get hundreds of hours of in hospital, and field training riding on a paramedic ambulance. Training covers all areas of pre-hospital emergency care including medical, cardiac, respiratory, pediatrics, obstetrics, and trauma emergencies.
We essentially bring the emergency room to your doorstep. In addition to basic life support skills, Paramedics have the ability to perform:
- Cardiac monitoring and 12 Lead ECG interpretation to quickly identify a heart attack and direct cardiac patients to a PCI capable hospital.
- Manual defibrillation, cardioversion, and pacing to correct lethal heart arrhythmias.
- Establish IVs, and administer a wide variety of medications.
- Perform endotracheal intubation and other advanced airway maneuvers.
Today, the Westford Fire Department operates two Class 1/Type 1 ambulances, with a third ambulance in reserve in the event one of our two front line ambulances is out of service for maintenance. We currently have 29 paramedics, and 18 EMTs on staff.
Thanks to the communities continued support by way of additional staffing for our department in 2019, our primary ambulance, Medic 1, is staffed 24/7 with a dedicated crew of two cross-trained firefighter/paramedics.
Our second in-service ambulance, Medic 2, is cross staffed 24/7 by two firefighter/paramedics on each shift who are assigned to Tower 1.
We are very proud of the service that we are able to provide our community, and are grateful for the support we've gotten to get us to where we are today.