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Paramedics on fire engines? It’s about time
station 59

Fortunately, there have been very few times in my life that I have actually needed emergency services to respond in a crisis situation.

There was the time that a father dropped straight onto his back like a falling tree in the lobby of a dorm building in Tacoma, Washington and I had to dial through the university’s phone bank before I was able to call the paramedics – all the while he was shaking violently on the ground.

And there was the time a group of drunken adults at the McHenry Recreation Area threatened to kill some friends of mine because they were swimming across the river near where they were fishing (it’s an Army Corps of Engineers swimming park) – going so far as to throw rocks as hard as they could at them as they navigated the swift moving waters of the Stanislaus River.

In both instances I was tasked with calling for help, and with my heart pounding and time standing still, I waited for what seemed like an eternity for the sirens to get closer and help to actually arrive.

While the ability of first responders to deliver advanced life support services didn’t factor into either of the above scenarios – the first one was handled by EMTs providing basic life support, and the second by San Joaquin Sheriff’s Deputies who took people to jail – I can only imagine what it would be like for somebody that you love to be dying and have the person who shows up first not be able to do what they’re trained to do because they aren’t authorized to use their skills.

Hopefully that is all about to change.

The Lathrop Manteca Fire District is right now going through the steps of trying to secure protocols that will allow the deployment of paramedic-firefighters on all of their rigs – joining the ranks of Stockton, Tracy, and Ripon in providing those services to the communities that they serve.

Currently the department has a number of qualified, card-carrying paramedics on staff, but they are not allowed to provide ALS services – starting an IV, pushing drugs, intubating somebody – because San Joaquin County’s EMS agency has not provided the authorization for them to do so.

While I am sure that there are good reasons for the current rules to exist, I also believe that if an agency can provide that level of care and they have the ability and the means to provide such a service to the residents they serve, there shouldn’t be anything standing in their way from doing so.

And if Lathrop is successful in this undertaking, it would make sense if Manteca were to follow suit.

It’s unlikely that the City of Manteca would have the financing available to simply go out and hire a bunch of a paramedics overnight, but the fact that Lathrop has Measure C funding to help bankroll this pursuit should give local elected officials reason to consider doing something similar – going to voters for a sales tax increase that will help fund additional emergency services personnel as well as essential city services.

It’s no secret that Manteca could benefit from additional police officers and adding additional fire personnel – or even adding ALS services – could be possible if the city were to have additional revenue that is not dependent on development or other one-time fees that have the potential of drying up.

Is an extra penny on every dollar worth it when it comes to ensuring that the first person to arrive on your emergency call has all of the tools at their disposal to save the life of you or your loved ones?

I think so.


A twisting of the knife

It has to drive Oakland Raiders fan crazy that the last year that they will play football in Northern California happens to be the same year that they fail to make the playoffs and have to watch the San Francisco 49ers make a run for the Super Bowl.

But the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs look like they’re destined to play in the big game as well – historically a rival of the Raiders – only twists the Vegas-bound knife even deeper.

Last week the Chiefs were losing 24-0 with just over 10 minutes left to play in the second quarter.

By halftime they were winning the game and went on to win by more than 20 points – something that had never in the history of professional been done yet.

So yes, it has been a crazy NFL season.

But while the Raiders leaving have a lot of Northern California fans bummed that they won’t be able to take in their favorite games anymore, it’s also creating a buzz that hasn’t been seen on the other side of the bridge for quite some time now.

When the 49ers were last making deep playoff runs and the Giants were in the World Series every other year, you couldn’t go anywhere without somebody being excited about whatever game happened to be upcoming.

But with the exception of the Warriors, who started to get hot right when the 49ers and the Giants started to cool down, there have been some lean sports years here in Northern California.

The Giants aren’t going to be good for a number of years, and that’s predicated on whether the gambles of the newest General Manager actually work out.

But, for the time being, the 49ers are opening up as 7.5 point favorites in an NFC Championship Game that is being played at home, and 49ers flags are starting to pop up on seemingly every other car on the road.

Bandwagon or not, it’s good to have some buzz again here in Northern California.


To contact reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.