WEST RICHLAND, Wash. -- Benton County Fire District 4 can now provide ambulance services to residents.
Chief Mike Spring said the fire district received a provisional license from the state Department of Health on Monday allowing them to begin operating the ambulance service.
Residents voted yes in May of 2010 to start their own EMS services. Up until today, the City of Richland and the station in Benton City respond to emergencies.
"The length of response times that they have down town on George Washington Way and Gage Boulevard to come into our community is longer than national standards," says Spring, "so there was a real need."
The fire district has one full-time paramedic and a volunteer paramedic, Spring said. He hopes to have three more paramedics hired and the ambulance service fully operating by May.
The cost of the new ambulance is $180,000 and the equipment inside is an additional $80,000.
District 4 also has a substation on Huntington Street and Grosscup Boulevard, which is currently being remodeled. That station will also have a running ambulance and paramedic crew once it opens.