Menlo Park Fire Protection District Celebrating 25 Years of Paramedic First Response!

The Menlo Park Fire Protection District became the first Fire Agency in San Mateo County to provide Advanced Life Support (ALS) Fire Paramedic’s on all of its seven front line fire engines twenty-five years ago. That collective push took an additional twelve years of effort beforehand. The Fire District provides essential emergency services and fire response to the Town of Atherton, Cities of East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Unincorporated Areas of San Mateo County and also on contract with the SLAC National Accelerator and Laboratories.

This year (2019), the Fire District has responded to over 9000 emergencies of which 65% are Emergency Medical Incidents. Today, a least one Fire Paramedic can be found on each of the Fire District’s ten first response units and over half of its 100 firefighters are Fire Paramedics, the largest number in the County. The Fire District is in close proximity to Stanford Hospital and Trauma Center, so its Fire Paramedic’s regularly interact on calls and train with Hospital Staff. When a medical emergency is dispatched, the goal is for the Fire first response unit to be on-scene in 4 – 6 minutes, before the transport Ambulance, which can take from 9 – 15 minutes, arrives. Those critical moments, allow the Fire Paramedic to establish a treatment path and most of the time, stabilize the patients condition.

Fire Chief Schapelhouman said “our firefighters take pride in their compassionate bedside manner, comprehensive and competent patient care and ability to pro-actively medically treat patients in any type of field setting. Over the years, that has included fires, vehicle accidents, technical rescues, acts of violence, overdoses, stroke, cardiac arrest and a wide variety of other medical incidents. The ability to medically intervene and improve a patients condition or save a life is one of the greatest and most satisfying aspects of our job. I worked here before we had Fire Medic’s and we felt pretty powerless at times, we lost people that could have been saved and watched them suffer more than they should have, having a Fire Paramedic on every response unit has been a game changer”.

The YouTube link below will take you to a more informative visual and verbal narrative version of this important story. This link can also be found on our web-site. My thanks our EMS Manager Melanie Starz and all who led this important effort and video project.


Pictured below – In September 2019, Menlo Park Fire Paramedics, and others, were acknowledged for saving the life of a 14 year old girl at Burgess Pool, after she went into cardiac arrest and almost drowned – Credit Menlo Fire

Pictured below – In April 2017, Menlo Park Firefighters and Paramedics, save the life of a man who crashed his vehicle on the 2500 Block of Sand Hill Road. The vehicle was on fire upon their arrival and the driver was pinned, sustaining major burn injuries to his legs, arms and face. The fire was quickly extinguished while other Fire personnel used the jaws of life to free the victim and Fire Medics treated the conscious patient. – Credit Menlo Fire


Pictured below – In June of 2015, Menlo Park Fire Paramedics attempt to save the life of a young woman who’s vehicle was struck by the Express Train at Ravenswood and the Rail Road Tracks. Although two Fire Paramedics accompanied her to Stanford Hospitals Trauma Center, she did not survive her injuries. – Credit Menlo Fire


Pictured below – One of the first Menlo Park Fire Paramedic Classes held on-duty - 1994 – Credit Menlo Fire

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