Ask The Chief Archives - Central County Fire & Rescue

Ask The Chief: Why do I see fire trucks at the grocery store?

CCFR firefighters are on-duty 24-hours a day, seven days a week, always ready to respond to a call, even when they are at the grocery store.

Each crew of firefighters stays together throughout their entire 48-hour shift to ensure they can respond to an emergency, with the proper equipment, from any location within minutes. This is why you may have seen firefighters leaving their carts and running out of grocery stores. When they receive a call, they leave immediately and come back later to finish their grocery shopping.

There are also benefits to our crews eating and preparing meals together. A 2015 Cornell University study found that “Firefighter platoons who eat meals together have better group job performance compared with firefighter teams who dine solo.”

Because of the importance of building this camaraderie we require our crews to eat at least two meals per shift together. This gives the firefighters an opportunity to discuss the calls they have run, share emotions and build bonds that directly correlate to effective teamwork in an emergency situation.

Being out in the community also gives us a chance to meet with residents and get to know the people in our neighborhoods, which makes us better first responders. If you see us out and about stop and say hi. We’re always happy to answer questions, give kids a chance to see the fire truck up close or hear what’s happening around town.

Have other questions about CCFR or the fire service? Let us know by sending us a message on Facebook @CentralCountyFire or emailing

Paramedic or EMT — What’s the Difference?

Paramedic EMT

While the terms EMT and paramedic are often used interchangeably in casual conversation, there’s a big difference in what the two are allowed and equipped to do when they arrive at the scene of an emergency.

An EMT, or emergency medical technician, is certified to provide basic life support. This means that they can provide any medical treatment that does not involve invasive medical procedures or medication administration.

A paramedic is certified to provide advanced life support, a higher degree of medical service that includes the administration of medications, IV fluids and various monitoring functions and advanced medical procedures.

Because of these differences in training, the type of medical response EMTs and paramedics can provide varies widely, which can have a significant impact on a patient’s outcome. A few examples:

  • If a patient is suffering from a severe allergic reaction, a paramedic can provide and administer epinephrine, secure an airway and provide IV medication. In a similar situation, an EMT could only provide CPR.
  • During a heart attack, a paramedic can monitor heart rhythms, electrically control an unstable heartbeat, pace a patient’s heart rate and get them back into a normal heart rhythm, start an IV, administer medication and secure an open airway if needed. An EMT can check vital signs and use an automated defibrillator to shock a heart back into a rhythm only after the heart has stopped and provide CPR.
  • A paramedic can administer IV medications for stroke, seizures, diabetic and drug overdoses and intubate to provide an airway. An EMT cannot.

In short, a paramedic can facilitate life-saving medical interventions that EMTs do not have the training and equipment to provide and can make a dramatic difference in the outcome of a medical emergency.