Calif. firefighters get paramedic training
By Mike Martinez
Inside Bay Area (California)
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TRACY, Calif. — The Tracy Fire Department brought something inside the city limits for the first time Saturday when it expanded a life-saving pilot program.
Tracy Fire Chief Chris Bosch said service at Station 97 was upgraded to advance life support and now offers paramedic-trained firefighters from the building on the corner of Central Avenue and Tracy Boulevard.
He said it was a big step for the department.
This will be the first ALS engine in the city, Bosch said. We think it will help us provide much better service in the area and make sure the people who call us get the best care possible as quickly as possible.
Now at least one member of the three-person crew will be specially trained as a paramedic, so they can take life-saving skills with them to the scene of an auto accident or complaints of chest pains in the critical minutes before the ambulance arrives.
Prior to Saturday, Station 93 in Vernalis — the station with the largest coverage area but also the fewest calls — was the only station in the Tracy area that staffed paramedic-trained firefighters 24 hours a day.
The Tracy City Council approved an agreement in October that would, eventually, put paramedic-trained firefighters on every fire truck in the city.
The deal with American Medical
Response allows them to meet or exceed response time requirements by stopping the clock when firefighters with the additional training arrive at emergency calls.
AMR pays the paramedic bonus of the firefighter, provides the necessary equipment and restocks medical supplies on responding vehicles.
Chief Bosch said call volume was the main factor in deciding to expand the ALS service at Station 97 first.
He said once the upgrade there has been in place for a couple of months, the department is going to improve service at Station 96 on Grant Line Road and examine upgrading the Mountain House station before the end of the year.
Bosch said his goal is to have paramedic-trained firefighters at every station in the next three years.
Were going to be very aggressive with that goal, Bosch said. Were going to try and speed that process as much as we can. We dont want to put a program together, put the units in service and not have the support mechanism in place. Were going to be very methodical.