Emergency Medical Services (EMS)

SPFR is a contract provider for the Pinellas County EMS system. As such, SPFR provides Advanced Life Support (ALS) first response with up to 25 ALS units throughout the City. SPFR’s primary EMS role is the initial response, triage, and treatment of patients experiencing medical emergencies. Patient transport is handled by a third-party service called Sunstar. SPFR also provides EMS coverage for hundreds of special community events throughout the year.

In 2018, the Department responded to approximately 55,000 EMS calls for service. EMS service is delivered primarily with 10-ALS Transport Rescue Units, 2-ALS Non-Transport Peak Time Rescue Units, and 4-ALS Engine Companies. EMS services are backed-up with 9-ALS Up/Down Engine Companies. ALS Transport Rescue Units are staffed with one Firefighter/Paramedic and one Firefighter/EMT). ALS Non-Transport Peak Time Rescue Units are staffed two Firefighter/Paramedics. ALS Engine Companies are staffed with a minimum of one Firefighter/Paramedic, one Firefighter/EMT, and one Company Officer. Basic Life Support (BLS) apparatus are also assigned to medical calls when the closest ALS unit is unavailable to respond.

All EMS services are overseen by the Department’s Rescue Division which consist of one Division Chief of Rescue, one Staff Rescue Captain, 7 Rescue Lieutenant Supervisors, 1 QA Coordinator and 104 classified Firefighter/Paramedics.

The City of St. Petersburg has been providing Emergency Medical Services since the early 1970s when the Department took the initiative to send firefighters for paramedic training at St. Petersburg Jr. College. During this period, the City contracted with a private ambulance company to provide patient transport within city limits.

In 1980, Florida Special Act, Chapter 80-585 was enacted, creating the Pinellas County Emergency Medical Services Authority governed by the Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) of Pinellas County. An election was held to approve a countywide special taxing district under the EMS Authority to provide countywide EMS services. The EMS Authority adopted an interim EMS Ordinance in January 1987, which provided for the transition to a “public utility model.” This interim Ordinance called for a competitive bid process to award an Advance Life Support (ALS) transport contract to a single contractor. The City of St. Petersburg now operates under a contract with the EMS Authority to provide ALS first responder service, one of 18 fire departments in Pinellas County to provide ALS first responder service.

The Pinellas County EMS System responds to more than 231,000 calls for service with 184,000+ patient transports annually.

To learn more about today’s St. Petersburg’s Fire Rescue team, visit the Leadership page.