In a recent editorial column, Becky Clark wrote that if Idyllwild Fire Protection District replaced the Riverside County Fire Department emergency dispatch service with another less expensive dispatch service, callers requesting an ambulance would no longer be provided with medical advice by the dispatcher regarding care of the victim while waiting for the ambulance to arrive, thereby placing our lives in danger just to save money.
This is absolutely not the case. Every emergency dispatch center IFPD is considering as a possible replacement for RCF is staffed with dispatchers who are at least as well trained as the RCF dispatchers. In addition to the training they are required to receive, when dispatchers receive a call reporting, for example, that someone has suffered a heart attack and they need an ambulance, the dispatcher is able to bring up on their screen a list of things the caller should do while waiting for the ambulance.
What we should all keep in mind is that every person employed by IFPD, from the chief on down, have devoted their own lives to saving the lives of others. The last thing they are going to do is make any change that will lessen their ability to do so.
At the same time, they would not be serving the best interests of the taxpayers in our district if they did not explore the possibility of providing the same, or even better, emergency dispatch ser- vice at a lower cost.
Editor’s note: According to Brian MacGavin, assistant director of the Riverside County Emergency Medical Services, the only certified emergency medical dispatch services within the county — besides the center IFPD currently uses in Perris — are in the cities of Riverside and Corona. IFPD issued Requests for Proposal to five other dispatch servers that don’t offer EMD services. See story on page 3.