Fire Authority reorganization adds a paramedic to Seal Beach

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In March, the Orange County Fire Authority will change the way it delivers emergency service in this part of Orange County. According to Division 1 Fire Chief Ken Cruz, Seal Beach will see an increase in paramedic service.

The changes will also effect Los Alamitos, Cypress and Buena Park as well as Seal Beach.

“The Orange County Emergency Medical Services Authority standard is that Paramedic service will be provided by a ‘Team’ of paramedics, (two).  Paramedic service is provided by the Fire/Rescue Service in Orange County.  There are currently three Firefighters that are also licensed Paramedics assigned to the city daily.  With the changes, there will be four paramedics in the city daily,” according to Cruz.

The changes in this area represent phase three of the fire agency’s reorganization of emergency services.

“Our experience so far is that the redistribution has reduced our response times on average by 20 percent. That’s significant when you’re waiting during an emergency. I will be setting up a separate presentation for Leisure World since there seems to be some misinformation floating around the community,” according to Cruz.

“I think where the confusion lies is that in order to accomplish this, we will be decommissioning our van (Medic 48) and redistributing the personnel to both Engine 44 (Old Town station) and Engine 48 (North Gate Road station near Leisure World).  The same number of people will be on duty each day. However, fewer pieces of equipment will be necessary to make up the Paramedic Team,” according to Cruz.

The Fire Authority expects the changes to improve firefighter safety as well as emergency service. Cruz told the City Council this week that Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules require two firefighters to respond to an emergency and two fire fighters in reserve in case they need help. With three firefighters to an engine, crews had to wait until a second unit arrived at the scene.

Fire Authority reorganization adds a paramedic to Seal Beach