Huntington Beach

Lights, sirens and medical calls

A CHANGE in how fire departments respond to medical calls is a topic at Tuesday night’s meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council (HBFD photo).

In today’s world of modern construction techniques and inspections, fire departments spend a lot more time responding to calls for medical aid than extinguishing blazes.

The 2021-2022 Orange County Grand Jury challenged  traditional practices of sending firefighting units in a report titled, “Where’s the Fire? Stop Sending Fire Trucks to Medical Calls.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Huntington Beach City Council will consider the city’s response to the report. The report argues that sending fire engines and trucks on medical calls leads to unnecessary wear-and-tear on roadways and fatigue and burnout among firefighter-paramedics.

It recommends that all Orange County fire agencies – including the Huntington Beach Fire Department – consider stationing a paramedic squad vehicle in place of a second engine in stations with high volumes of medical calls, and stop the practice of requesting Code 3 – emergency response with red lights and sirens – on all non-life threatening calls.

The proposed responses from the city council and the HBFD are that the recommendations are “not warranted” and will not be implemented.

Also on the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting is study session topic regarding Bolsa Chica annexation. Bolsa Chica is an unincorporated county “island” surrounded by the City of Huntington Beach and is the location of the Bolsa Chica Wetlands preserve.

A closed session of the council is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. with a study session at 4 p.m. and the regular meeting at 6 p.m. The council meets in its chambers in the Civic Center, 2000 Main St. (at Yorktown Avenue).

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