A Los Angeles City Council committee called Wednesday for spending $1.5 million to add six paramedic-staffed ambulances to the Fire Department's force.
Citing the "crisis" in providing medical service in the metropolitan, South-Central and East Valley areas, Governmental Operations Committee Chairman Michael Woo proposed buying the ambulances with funds already allocated to lower emergency response times.
The action will go before the full council for consideration, possibly as early as next week.
In testimony Wednesday, Fire Chief Donald O. Manning said buying the ambulances would create a "major problem," because the Fire Department does not have enough certified paramedics, either on duty or in training, to staff them.
He argued, instead, for support of a proposal offered by the Fire Department last month that would have regular firefighters, trained as emergency medical technicians, handle low-level medical calls in busy areas. Paramedics would respond to serious emergencies. Under the proposal, the number of ambulances staffed by paramedics would be reduced.