Franklin County Fire District 3 Will Do Their Own Ambulance Services
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Wash. -- After months of uncertainty, Franklin County Fire District Three has decided to end their ambulance service contract with the City of Pasco and do it themselves.
The Franklin County Fire District Three Board of Commissioners wanted to see a show of hands from their staff and volunteers before approving a motion to offer EMT ambulance services to the area's 6,000 residents and got support from majority of the 20 people who showed up to the special session meeting at the fire station on Court Street.
The City of Pasco told the district last year that they need to raise their fees from $30,000 a year to about $180,000 but they did give them until the end of the month to come up with a solution.
Chief Les Litzenberger said during negotiations, the city agreed to lower the price for the first year to $78,000 but he said this is still too expensive so they started looking into doing it themselves.
"We do have a transport license as of now. We have other departments, local departments which have offered to either loan us spare ambulances or set up leases with us to get their spare ambulances in our buildings and be ready to go by the end of the month," said Litzenberger
Litzenberger said the staff has already started doing practice runs, paperwork training and will be doing some hospital training as well. He said this will give the fire district its own identity and allow the 25 plus trained EMT's to use their skills.
"We all want the opportunity to use our skills and what we've learned, and use that and care for the citizens. Getting into ambulance services will give us a better opportunity to do that," said Pete Loera, a volunteer firefighter who just got certified as an EMT in December.
The district will start doing basic life runs starting on February 1st, when the contract with Pasco officially ends. However the EMT's will be providing only basic life support, and are not trained paramedics.
The chief says to serve their community they will need residents to pass a levy in November.