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Paramedic Training Plan Clears 1st Step

April 21, 1999|PAMELA J. JOHNSON

Ventura County supervisors Tuesday approved the first step in a long-awaited plan to train county firefighters as paramedics.

The plan would allow paramedics to provide advanced lifesaving medical treatment to accident victims.

The approval allows Fire Chief Bob Roper to begin contract negotiations with American Medical Response, a private ambulance company, to allow firefighters to be trained--most likely in-house--as paramedics, Roper said.

The board's approval also opens contract talks with the firefighters' union. The deal would probably entail pay raises for firefighters who received paramedic training.

Under the plan, if a county firetruck arrives at an accident scene before an ambulance, the firefighter/paramedic would begin treating victims. Once the American Medical Response team arrived, its personnel would take over treatment and transport patients to a hospital, Roper said.

The ambulance company began considering the firefighter/paramedic concept after state legislators recently reduced the medical response time requirement from 10 minutes to 8 1/2 minutes after a call is received.

In the past, private ambulance companies had bristled at the suggestion they could not meet the 10-minute time requirement, but they acknowledge they may need help under the new limit.

Supervisor Judy Mikels said once firefighters are trained as paramedics, the method should be reviewed in three years.

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