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Paramedic Services Subject of Meeting

September 25, 2000|ANNETTE KONDO

Paramedic services will be discussed during a public meeting of a Fire Commission subcommittee Thursday at Valley College.

The 9 a.m. meeting is being held by the Paramedic/Emergency Medical Services subcommittee of the Fire Commission.

The Fire Department has proposed splitting up the current two-paramedic teams that are assigned to ambulances in the Valley.

Under the pilot program, which is under review, one paramedic would be teamed with an emergency medical technician on an ambulance. The second paramedic would be assigned to a firetruck that also could respond to medical emergencies.

The Fire Department has backed the concept as a way to address a severe shortage of paramedics and reduce the Valley's response time by about 1 1/2 minutes. But critics say the two-person paramedic teams are essential in providing quality emergency care in the field.

Paramedics, who undergo more than 1,000 hours of medical training, can provide advance life support, administer intravenous medication and other procedures. Emergency medical technicians, who receive about 100 hours of training, can provide basic first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation.

Recently, the Fire Commission has also been under pressure to address recent disclosures of errors in the dispatch system. In some cases, instead of paramedics, dispatchers have incorrectly sent emergency medical technicians to calls.

Thursday's meeting will be held in Monarch Hall, inside the Campus Center building at Valley College, 5800 Fulton Ave.

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