Much of last week’s County Service Area 38 Advisory Committee’s meeting was devoted to discussion of the ambulance service contract with Idyllwild Fire Protection District.

The committee members unanimously felt shut out of the negotiations between Idyllwild Fire and Riverside County.

Committee member Marge Muir, who attended the IFPD meeting the previous evening, reported that the IFPD commission thanked the committee for its letter the previous month, which thanked IFPD for its service during the current and past contracts.

But Muir emphasized, “These are public funds [CSA 38 residents pay a special fee for the service and if transport occurs, individuals or their insurance pays for that] and we were really shut out last night, but it’s our funding.” She added that she invited someone from the IFPD commission or department to attend the CSA 38 meeting, but no one attended.

Adding to her and her colleagues’ frustration was the development that Idyllwild Interim Chief Mike Sherman has prepared an analysis of the ambulance service costs.

“The chief has given these to REMS [the county Emergency Medical Services Agency]. We have asked and asked for that information,” Muir said with disappointment.

Several members of the audience also spoke to the issue. Joseph Ashcraft, who has been a Pine Cove resident for more than two years and has extensive emergency medical service experience and training, discussed his experience with IFPD and CAL FIRE paramedic service.

He was complementary of both and recommended solutions that would continue or expand either agency’s emergency service. He spoke out against the possibility of American Medical Response staff providing medical service.

“If AMR were covering Pine Cove, then I would drive myself down to the Idyllwild Fire station for transport for medical emergencies,” he told the advisory committee.