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The Denver Health Paramedic Division employs 189 full-time paramedics and 36 EMTs and is supported by 32 command staff. The primary mission is to provide 911-ambulance service to Denver. More than 70,000 patients a year are treated and transported by DH Paramedics. Three emergency service patrol vans transport public inebriates to Denver CARES for detoxification.
The Denver Health Paramedics also provide EMS services at Denver International Airport, the fourth busiest airport in the country. Due to its size and volume of passengers, several paramedics are assigned to the airport to provide around the clock emergency care and transport to local area hospitals as needed.
Colorado’s hot, dry climate puts us at high risk for wildfire in the summer. The Wildland Response team provides support by traveling along the fireline and providing emergency medical care when needed to firefighters or community members being evacuated.
DHPD’s ATMU was conceived during the 1991 Denver Grand Prix. Due to the nature of the event, a large and densely populated area of downtown Denver was inaccessible to ambulances during the race. Paramedics were outfitted with bicycles equipped with an AED, oxygen and a full complement of ALS supplies. The success during that event resulted in the ATMU team being deployed anytime there is an event that will draw large crowds.
The dispatch center for the Denver Paramedics is housed in the Denver Combined Emergency Communications Center, alongside the Denver Police and Denver Fire Department dispatchers. All of the EMS dispatchers are certified in the use of the Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) system by the National Academy of Emergency Dispatch (NAED). The EMD system allows our dispatchers to quickly determine what EMS resources will be sent to each 911 call and aids dispatchers in providing crucial instructions to callers to help them manage the situation until crews arrive. The Denver EMS dispatch center is responsible for coordinating the deployment of Denver Health ambulances and emergency service patrols and is also an important resource for communicating with mutual aid partners during disasters. EMS dispatch is staffed 24 hours a day by four dispatchers and a dispatch supervisor and is structured to allow seamless transfer of information between the city’s emergency response partners.
Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) pairs a mental health clinician with a Denver Health paramedic or emergency medical technician (EMT). The team is dispatched through Denver 9-1-1 Communications and responds to low risk, low acuity crisis calls that arise from public health needs and poverty in the community. The team can provide medical assessment/triage, crisis intervention, de-escalation, transportation, and resource connection for community members in need. The Support Team Assisted Response (STAR) Program is an alternative response model operating within the City & County of Denver.
STAR is managed by the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment in partnership with the Denver Department of Safety. The goal of the STAR Program is to send the right resources to community members when they are in crisis. STAR was initially piloted in the City of Denver in 2020. The program was formally adopted in 2021 and is now being expanded to provide service to the entire city more frequently. As of July 2022, there are four units running throughout the city. Eight clinicians and six medics/EMT’s have been hired. At full capacity, there will be five units, ten clinicians and ten medics/EMT’s.