October 31, 2019
Today we spotlight Falck, our partner in education and EMS-driven prevention. Falck, in operation for over 100 years, is the international leader in emergency medical services, rescue, and fire protection. Falck is uniquely rooted in the nonprofit world with its profits benefitting international biomedical research. We believe this charitable mission and belief in innovation is at the heart of Falck’s recent and successful expansion across the US and California.
Falck Group and its subsidiary Falck USA get their namesake from founder Sophus Falck. In 1884, Sophus was witness to a terrible fire in Copenhagen and observed the need for organized rescue and medical response. This experience so impacted him that in 1906, he founded Falck to meet the emergency needs of his community. The company’s first ambulance was also the first automobile ambulance in all of Scandinavia.
As the organization has grown and thrived, its service has expanded from its humble beginnings to offer doctors-on-call, medical clinics, global disaster response, EMS response, roadside assistance, firefighting, and more. It has more than 32,000 employees worldwide, of which more than 18,000 staff ambulance services. It is the largest EMS/fire provider in the world, responding to more than 9 million emergency, medical, and fire incidents in its operations across 46 countries and six continents.
Falck is owned by two prominent European nonprofits— The Lundbeck Foundation and KIRKBI. The Lundbeck Foundation generates annual grants of more than $500 million to support biomedical research in critical areas of science. The Foundation also gives out its yearly Brain Prize, the most prestigious international award in the field of neuroscience. KIRKBI is a family foundation often recognized for its 75% ownership of the LEGO Group and its charitable mission.
It is from this nonprofit leadership that Falck derives its values. Values that significantly differentiate it from its competitors. While the Falck team always aims to be revenue positive akin to other companies, the profits it generates are destined to better the world around us through research grantmaking, not merely bettering an investor’s portfolio. This business model resonates with paramedics who enjoy the pairing of their noble work with an equally noble corporate mission.
Falck’s unique ownership model, corporate partners, and sheer size also provide the organization with an incredible ability to innovate. Falck’s Director of Clinical Operations, Dannie Wurtz, states, “Falck prides itself on being a global leader in healthcare. As such, we invest heavily in innovation, taking an outside-the-box approach to pre-hospital care. With such a strong global presence, we have the unique ability to participate in many diverse EMS models in several different countries.”
This desire to innovate can be seen in Falck’s graduate EMS business program, its staff positions dedicated solely to innovation and design, and even its new drone programs. Their ability to solve problems in new and effective ways is incredibly valuable to California communities seeking increased efficacy and efficiency in their evolving emergency medical services and operations.
It is for all these reasons that Falck has seen such a rapid success across our state and country. The company currently serves 80% of Orange County, 40% of LA County outside of Los Angeles City, and recently won the exclusive 911 contract for Alameda County. Altogether, their statewide operations serve 6+ million residents in a 911 capacity.
The California Paramedic Foundation is proud to partner with Falck, as we together advance paramedicine and the care of our communities.