Ambulance responses in our region raise alarms: Part II in a series
By Miriam Raftery
March 23, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—Earlier we reported on a new contract for ambulance service that the County has signed, effective April 1st. That contract required only four ambulances for an entire district stretching from the border north to Mount Laguna, and from Jamul east to the Imperial County line.
In response, Mercy Medical Transportation has advised us that it has decided to add two additional units, which will be permanently stationed here and not dependent on how many mutual aid agreements are signed.
Allyse Roesche at Mercy told us in an email, “As we took a tour of the service area and did more research, we found that the area would be best served with the addition of those 2 units (in Alpine and Otay Mesa). Our goal is for best patient care and 100% response time compliance, not just adequate service."
Although the units are permanent, she adds, "If we find that the locations of those 2 units needs to be changed to allow for maximum coverage we will. Also, these 2 additional units will be staffed by Mercy personnel.”
Originally, Mercy had considered positioning unmanned ambulances at fire stations and having firefighting paramedics man them, but community members had voiced concerns over that plan, since fire stations in our rural areas have often had dark days with no one manning the stations.
Altogether, Mercy plans to station Advanced Life Support ambulances 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the following locations:
Two ambulances in Alpine, where there is only one currently;
Two at the Cal Fire/County Fire Station in Otay Mesa, which currently has just one ambulance;
One ambulance at the Cal Fire San Diego Rural station in Jamul; and
One ambulance at the Lake Morena Cal Fire/County Fire Station, which will be moved to the new Cal Fire/County Fire station in Boulevard once construction of that station is completed.