October 25, 2021
Lilianna Cabrera, the Anaheim Fire & Rescue (AF&R) representative for our club, introduced AF&R EMS coordinator, Captain Dave Barry. Captain Barry gave us an overview and status of the new ambulance service at AF&R.
Anaheim Fire has contracted with CARE Ambulance since 1998. CARE runs 7 ambulances for the city, overseeing all emergency medical response in the city. Anaheim is planning on taking over these responsibilities, eventually purchasing 7 new ambulances to replace those of the outside contractors. The city will take on not only the equipment, but the day-to-day operations of the EMS system in Anaheim. This can create a savings of 1.5 million.
Chief Patrick Russell had given Captain Barry had three goals for the EMS:
Goal 1: to create a “stepping stone” for youth in Anaheim to enter public safety. By reaching out to youth in the community, opportunities are opened for young people, some of whom are from troubled circumstances, to start a career in the EMS. Becoming an Ambulance Orderly (AO) isn’t a quick and easy proposition. Many from the Police Explorers Program get involved. It requires a college degree, attending the Fire Academy, EMT school, and serving time in the cadet corps before becoming a full-blown EMT.
Goal 2: to control the path of the EMS in Anaheim going forward. By operating the EMT system in house, Anaheim has no longer a need to pay for an outside contractor. The city would oversee all aspects of the paramedics, operation, billing insurance, and thus not splitting the proceeds. The city has been able to staff and put into service 32 Surge Units and Special Event units in the first month of the program.
Goal 3: to provide financial stability and control of the increasing costs of delivering EMS. By providing the service themselves, the city has reduced the quarterly outlay to CARE by $250,000.
Currently, status of the medical industry is floundering. It is spread thin on resources, there are extended wait times to receive service both by the EMT’s and in the hospitals. The average ‘wall time’ in Orange County hospitals can range from 45 minutes to three hours. Meanwhile, in LA, this wait time could be up to 18 hours. On the average, the EMT receive 2000 calls per month. Of these calls, 700 end up going to the hospital in the ambulance; 800 go to the hospital on their own, not utilizing the EMT transport services. The remaining do not go to the hospital as all.
Also, due to the shipping crisis, there are long wait times merely to receive the newly purchased ambulances. Presently, Fire Stations 6,1, and 3 have the new ambulances and the other four are still awaiting delivery.
Furthermore, although they are struggling to hire personnel, 31 new AO’s have been hired and all EMS training and ambulance driving have been completed. They are very impressed with the quality of the personnel they have hired.
Following the Captain’s presentation, we were able to visit the ambulance in the parking lot. Captain Wood gave us a summary of the ambulance capabilities. He probably thought it strange that club members were particularly interested in the gurney system While everyone pretty much viewed from afar. Jesus and Adam, however, bounded into the ambulance and gave our on line members a live video tour of the ambulance.
Thank you, Captain Berry, Captain Wood, and Chief Russell, or attending today. We are in awe of your dedication and service to our community. Thank you for your service.
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