Huntington Beach

Fire dept. will stick with present

HUNTINGTON BEACH Fire Department has nearly 200 full-time personnel and 150 seasonal lifeguards (HBFD photo).

By Huw Pickering/Orange County Tribune

A report released by the Orange County Grand Jury recommended that fire departments receiving a high number of medical calls, including Huntington Beach’s, deploy Advanced Life Support vehicles to these calls with paramedics on board, rather than a second fire engine.

But Huntington Beach won’t be making the change.

Advanced Life Support (ALS) vehicles have paramedics that are allegedly better-qualified than Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) who staff ambulances. Supporters feel the ALS vehicles are less expensive than fire engines. They are smaller and lighter, therefore create less wear and tear on their own equipment and the roads they drive on, and impede less traffic than fire engines, the report claims.

Huntington Beach, however, doesn’t see the need to change the way its fire department responds to medical calls. According to their response given at the city council meeting on Sep. 6, the Emergency Medical Technicians who accompany Huntington Beach fire engines on medical calls are just as effective as ALS operators.

Huntington Beach, as well as other cities like Anaheim, has a fire department independent of the Orange County Fire Authority, and does not employ private contractors for ambulances or ALS vehicles.

Without the regulation of OCFA, Surf City can funnel paramedics to respond to medical emergencies by letting them accompany fire engines on calls, which the city council considers a better way of operating than that of most other cities in the county.

Leave a Reply