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LM firefighters being trained as paramedics
LM fire logo

Eleven Lathrop Manteca firefighters are currently getting certified as paramedics as part of the agency’s push to offer advanced life service on responding units.

And thanks to a $500,000 federal grant, the district will only have to figure out how to pay for the education of two of thr firefighters.

Personnel are currently traveling to Las Positas College in Alameda County for the classes that will eventually culminate in certification as a paramedic – a designation that will allow those qualified to offer a heightened level of medical care to those that need it.

The step is part of an ongoing plan to provide ALS services on first-responding fire engines that are responsible for providing life-saving care in Lathrop and its surrounding rural areas – being put into action before San Joaquin County officially grants approval to the district’s plan.

The agency is currently drafting that plan that they will submit the county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency for formal consideration – hoping that it’ll come either later this year or early next year and the available paramedics that they plan on putting into the field will be operational and ready to service.

“It will bring our capability to the next level – it provides the highest level of care in San Joaquin County for first responders and provides service even when ALS agencies get tapped out,” Lathrop Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neely has said about the program. “There may be multiple calls or a mass-casualty incident that would require ambulances coming from outside of the area, and this provides that same level of service when we respond to a call – which is important when seconds matter.”

The need for additional ALS care in and around Lathrop, which the county will consider when making its final decision, is something that Neely has said that the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear – with hospitals in San Joaquin County inundated with patients, some ambulances have had to wait in order to space to become available. Those situations, Neely argued, mean that the units are taken out of service, and having a safety net there will only improve the outcomes for patients that need more than basic EMT services.

Thanks to the grant funding that will cover the cost of education for the majority of the paramedics that the agency hopes to deploy, the cost for implementing the program was drastically cut down. Additional funding for ongoing costs is expected to come from the district’s portion of Measure C – the one-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2012 that sends 40 percent of the proceeds to provide fire services to the community.


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.