A recent article in the Town Crier discussed mutual aid between first responders on medical calls in the Idyllwild area but the author, unfortunately, did not have the benefit of the most current information about the issue.

Riverside County continually works to improve emergency medical response countywide and recently developed an updated operational policy for responding with the closest ambulance on the Mountain Plateau. This agreement emerged from collaboration among the county Emergency Management Department and Fire Department, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District and American Medical Response.

On April 3, the agencies unanimously agreed to implement a new policy that takes effect May 1. The agreement optimizes service by using automated vehicle location tracking systems. Under the new policy, AMR will partner with IFPD to equip its ambulances with VLT that AMR has had on its ambulances since the county master ambulance contract was implemented in July 2015.

This critical enhancement enables the closest ambulance to respond to an incident, allowing more efficient ambulance use while maintaining accountability through data collection. Combined with IFPD’s recent transition to the Image Trend Electronic Patient Care Record system, the vehicle trackers will allow for fully integrated data and patient-care reporting that will be used to validate effective 911 responses and provide optimal patient care.

The new policy will replace the previous letter of understanding among the county, IFPD and AMR. Members of the group also unanimously agreed to continue meeting to ensure a smooth implementation of the new policy and to continuously evaluate opportunities to improve emergency medical services in the mountain communities.

As always, Riverside County appreciates its partners’ assistance as the county continues its efforts to improve the emergency medical response system countywide.

 Jeffrey A. Van Wagenen Jr.

Assistant County Executive Officer/Public Safety

Riverside County