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Yakima No Longer Sending Firetrucks on All 911 Calls

Yakima says 76% of 911 calls only require ambulance
(Courtesy 1280 KIT Radio )

After a three-month study of 911 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) calls, Yakima is pulling back on firetruck response.

Typically in Yakima (and here in Tri-Cities) when 911 is called with an EMS issue, a firetruck and ambulance respond. But now Yakima officials report they might just send the ambulance.

According to KIMA-TV, Yakima Deputy Fire Chief Bob Stewart says sending a firetruck to such medical calls is literally wearing out the crews and equipment. From KIMA-TV’s report:

“A three-month pilot program in 2011 found only sending an ambulance to EMS calls was more efficient. Now, the departments following up by implementing its Criteria Based EMS Dispatch program this week. Calls deemed to be routine won’t get a response from firefighters.”

A number of citizens who were interviewed for the story said they understand and agree with the idea, especially if it will save money. Most said they trust area dispatchers judgement when it comes to deciding if a fire crew is necessary. According to the study done by the Yakima Fire Department, 76 percent of their calls only require paramedics.

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