In the first County Service Area 38 Advisory Committee meeting since the Hill learned that the Idyllwild Fire Protection District wished to terminate its ambulance contract to Pine Cove and Zone 3, residents seemed comfortable with the committee’s approach to the issue.

Only a few members of the community came to the meeting, but those that did raised no objections to the Advisory Committee’s intention to thank Idyllwild for its past service and to rely on Riverside County officials to develop a satisfactory, if not better, solution to the community’s need for ambulance service.

Committee Vice Chair Marge Muir read an email, which she had just received from Bill Brown, the county CSA manager.

“CSA Administration is working with Riverside County Fire Department County EMS [Emergency Medical Service Agency] and County Counsel to ensure uninterrupted ambulance service to the community starting July 1, 2012,” Brown said reaffirming County Fire Chief John Hawkins’ statement at Supervisor Jeff Stone’s April 9 Public Safety Summit.

“The CSA’s current priority is developing your new ambulance service for Pine Cove,” Brown concluded.

Riverside County has a large contract with American Medical Response to provide ambulance service to other unincorporated areas in the county. No announcement of approaching AMR to replace IFPD has been made despite speculation.

But Mountain Battalion chief Sean Dakin was asked about his experience with AMR and he replied, “It’s always been a good a relationship.” And Advisory Committee member Los Angeles Battalion Chief Robert Hewitt confirmed similar experiences when he has encountered AMR on incidents.

“I truly believe there is more than one option than Idyllwild,” said Advisory Chair Jerry Holldber. “This may have opened the door with many agencies and that can work better for many people, not just Pine Cove, but Mountain Center, Lake Hemet and Anza.” And Muir reinforced this view expressing the goal of finding something for the future that is better for everyone.

“Our families and friends all go up and down this corridor,” Holldber reminded all in attendance and then recommended that the Advisory Committee draft a letter to Stone thanking him and Idyllwild for its service.

Brown did say that the CSA 38 proposal to purchase a new fire engine would be on hold until the ambulance service is resolved.

During Mountain Battalion Chief Sean Dakin’s comments, he described the recent success of establishing an Explorer Post for young people and potential firefighters at Station 29 in Anza. The program is for boys and girls 14 to 21 years. Dakin said the Anza Post already has 15 members.

He hopes to establish something similar in cooperation with Station 23 later this year.

Dakin is also close to solving the long-standing request for a direct 9-1-1 phone line outside of Station 23. While he has been working with the County’s telecommunications staff, he indicated that the ultimate solution could rest with Verizon.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is a commitment of 20 hours. You must attend all 20 hours to earn a certificate. The training is free. Only those who successfully complete the practical exercise with hands-on instruction in fire suppression, search and rescue, cribbing and medical will receive a certificate of completion and a free CERT kit.

      WHEN: Friday, June 22, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
      Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and June 24, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
      WHERE: Garner Valley Commons
      61600 Devil’s Ladder Road,
      Mountain Center, 92561
      WHO: Open to the public
      HOW: Register at or call

    (951) 955-4700. Class size is limited to the first 40 people who register.