TRACY (CBS13) — A long-time policy in Tracy is now being debated after two people died while waiting for first responders.
Current protocol allows Tracy firefighters to respond to certain type of medical emergencies and city leaders are fighting to get that changed.
Alice English has lived in Tracy for 15 years. She helps take care of her baby granddaughter who lives with a peanut allergy and just can’t imagine if there was an emergency at home.
“She could die, her breathing could stop and our fire department couldn’t administrate help immediately and that scares me,” said English.
Under the current policy issued by the San Joaquin County Emergency Medical Services Agency – the Tracy Fire Department can only respond to major emergencies. Low-level calls like someone suffering a seizure or a broken leg have to rely on outside agencies for help.
“To be restricted in the types of emergencies we can respond to is something that I have never encountered in my career,” said Chief Randal Bradley, Tracy Fire Department.
Fire Chief Bradley says with 22 firefighters on duty 24/7 and seven fire engines, his department has the capacity to respond to all emergencies and provide a high level of protection in Tracy.
“It is very frustrating and it’s a shame that this has not been resolved already,” said Tracy City Mayor Robert Rickman.
The county is disgusting an agreement to allow city fire to expand coverage but is waiting to get more input to make a final decision.
In a statement to CBS13, San Joaquin County EMS Agency spokesperson Dan Burch said
The County and the City have an agreement in principle allowing city fire to expand their response to include low level medical requests. The remaining unresolved issue is the city’s inability to provide the county with access to its dispatch data to allow the county to adequately monitor the performance of the fire department.
The County and the City have an agreement in principle allowing city fire to expand their response to include low-level medical requests. The remaining unresolved issue is the city’s inability to provide the county with access to its dispatch data to allow the county to adequately monitor the performance of the fire department.”
“There is a proposal that is being evaluated right now and the county expects to send a response back to the City of Tracy tomorrow, hopefully that will be acceptable to all sides,“ said Bob Elliott, San Joaquin County Supervisor who represents Tracy.
The Tracy Fire Department responds to 7,000 emergencies every year and unfortunately, the fire chief says they miss about 1,000 calls for help.
More than 3,000 people have signed a petition to request the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors to change the current policy.