Emergency Services

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    "Emergency - which service do you require?"


    Police, Firefighters, Paramedics. In an emergency, they are the first to respond, as most emergencies are related to their jobs. Often overworked and underpaid, but still dedicated to their jobs. Got a real big public image boost, at least in the USA, after their selfless actions on 9/11.

    Individually these groups (especially the police) are depicted often enough, but once in a while you get all three (or at least their respective vehicles) playing a major role.

    Note that this is not them as a Trio, as this is about the organizations, not a trio of people. Also takes into account locale-specific services like Coast Guard (or Lifeboat Society in many countries where the Coast Guard is a branch of the military), Mountain Rescue, Cave Rescue, etc. Then there's the mercifully seldom heard of Epidemic Intelligence Service and Nuclear Emergency Support Team, both based in the USA.

    Sometimes praised in fiction as The Real Heroes, but it's often lip service compared to how they are usually treated.

    Interestingly, paramedics are often not a branch of the emergency services. In the USA, they are a branch of the EMS, where paramedics are the highest of 3 skill tiers (EMT-B, EMT-I, EMT-P). In Canada, they are a "Public Safety Occupation" (a catch-all term because each province has a different system), and the ranks are Emergency Medical Responder (EMR), Primary Care Paramedic (PCP), Advanced Care Paramedic (ACP), and Critical Care Paramedic (CCP). In France, the Service Mobile d'Urgence et Reanimation is part of the hospital system.

    Examples of Emergency Services include:


    Live-Action TV



    Live-Action TV

    • Rescue Me.
    • An Australian series called Fire (original, I know)
    • Another Australian series Fireflies, about volunteer firefighters.
    • London's Burning

    Western Animation

    Paramedics and Firefighters

    Live-Action TV

    All Three

    Anime and Manga

    • In the various Brave Series (which you probably just know of from GaoGaiGar), the good robots are all various public service vehicles. Unsurprisingly, both Braves and Transformers were based on toylines from the same company.

    Live-Action TV


    • Transformers: The Autobots had quite a few whose vehicle form was an emergency vehicle.
      • As far as Transformers go, it's probably worth noting that the Generation 1 combiner team the Protectobots who form Defensor are made entirely up of these vehicles (Hot Spot-fire engine, Streetwise-police car, Groove- an oddly large police motorcycle, First Aid-ambulance, Blades-air ambulance), and that the main cast of Transformers Animated consists of these vehicles plus a military vehicle (despite appearances, Bumblebee is a police car).
        • Technically, Bulkhead is a police APC (Why do cops in the future have APCs?) He's only olive green because that's his natural color. In the pilot you can clearly see that the probes are scanning otherwise identical blue APCs that the police own. The only Autobot who is a military vehicle is Ultra Magnus, who's a Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck. Interestingly, the other tfree members of the Elite Guard (Jazz, Blurr and Sentinel Prime), transform into civilian vehicles, despite being actual members of the Autobot military, whereas the main crew of Autobots were just a repair team that Jumped At the Call.
    • Rescue Heroes was a cartoon based on a toyline that featured an elite team of emergency service members who operated like superheroes, but focused entirely on rescuing people rather than fighting crime.

    Video Games

    • The Grand Theft Auto games let you try out each of these in the secondary missions.
    • The aptly named Emergency series of video games is centred around managing various emergency personnel to, well, solve emergencies. This often involves using two or all three of the emergency services.


    Anime and Manga



    • The Sphinx Forestry Service are space game wardens in the Honor Harrington universe. They have police, fire, and rescue duties as well as watching the local ecology and native sentients on Earth. They are roughly in fact the same as gamewardens on Earth which is appropriate as Sphinx is a little like Oregon in Space.

    Live-Action TV

    Puppet Shows

    • International Rescue in Thunderbirds, who carry out rescue missions.

    Tabletop Games

    • In Delta Green, it's possible to play a Nuclear Emergency Support Team member.

    Real Life

    • Her Majesty's Coastguard is a search-and-rescue organisation in the UK.
    • The Canadian Coast Guard is primarily a search-and-rescue organization. It has no connection to the military.