By Mark A. Hartwig (Fire Chief / State Licensed Paramedic, Santa Barbara County Fire Protection District)
Today, we are excited to announce that the Board of Supervisors approved three Ambulance Provider Permits for the Santa Barbara County Fire Protection District (Fire District).
Permits for Emergency Medical Calls, Interfacility Transports and Special Event Standby, and Critical Care Transport will provide the Fire District the opportunity to expand our Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for ambulance transport across the County of Santa Barbara.
The approved permits under the new County system will allow us to more fully integrate our paramedic first response with ambulance transport and provide seamless continuity of care from ‘9-1-1 call’ to arrival at hospital emergency rooms.
As we move forward toward a March 1, 2024 implementation, we would like to highlight some enhancements of service delivery within the County:
- Dispatching the closest most appropriate medical resource through a Regional Fire Communication Center (RFCC)
- Reinvesting EMS transport revenues, to add ambulances on the streets and much needed community co-response programs through community paramedicine
- Provide a faster response to Priority 1 calls
- New fleet ambulances and equipment across the County of Santa Barbara
- Ambulance surge units strategically located throughout the County of Santa Barbara
- Social work outreach for the unhoused population
- Community career development initiatives
- Child car seat safety program
- Transition the Fire District from Basic Life Support to Advanced Life Support
- Dispatch nurse accessibility for 911 calls
Under the current contract, American Medical Response will continue to be the ambulance service provider for the county through the end of February 2024. The Santa Barbara County Fire Protection District will be implementing our expanded Emergency Medical Services on March 1, 2024.
We look forward to having a smooth transition as we expand our EMS ambulance workforce. The Santa Barbara County Fire Protection Distict will be holding community workshops for those interested in learning more about the opportunities to become an integral part of our team. More information on how to apply will be found on our website and social media in the upcoming days.
The Santa Barbara County Fire Protection District’s strength is further amplified by the invaluable partnership of the Santa Barbara County Fire Chiefs Association, Operational Area Fire Departments, local hospitals, local labor groups, and community leaders. Together, we look forward to enhancing EMS and ambulance transport throughout the County of Santa Barbara.