an EMS event occurs literally every second in the US! 60-70% of all calls to a Fire Department are for "medical" reasons, not "fire" reasons.
But most firefighters joined the Fire Department not for the gentleness of doctoring ... they joined for the action of firefighting!!
So, to rub a little salt in the wound, firefighters often grow weary of medical patients who become "frequent flyers." These are medical patients who call on the Department so many times they might as well get a loyalty card and a frequent flyer number!
Firefighters get frustrated that this takes away from their first love - firefighting. But sometimes their loud complaining can have unintended consequences - by leading Politicians and the Public to believe the EMS function should be privatized. And perhaps parts of it should, but keep in mind the EMS work brings in quite a lot of money to a Fire Department. It would be a tremendous loss of resources, and potentially jobs, if Fire Departments began to loose out on the EMS side.
Marc Scrivener wrote a terrific article about this in the Fire Chief Blog.
For now, Fire Departments offer both excellent EMS and firefighting services. And the complexity of being superb at both is one of the reasons being a firefighter is ranked among the most stressful jobs of 2012.
So to firefighters everywhere ... you do a great job, keep it up!!