(1974 – San Diego Union)
The Santee Fire Protection District yesterday announced plans to initiate the county’s first paramedic program sometime next year at an estimated cost of $100,000.
Santee Fire Captain Jack Stephenson said six Santee firemen will enter the Los Angeles County paramedic training program next April based on tentative approval from the program’s director.
The $100,000 will cover all training expenses, salaries for six new firefighters who would be hired to replace those entering the program plus the cost of equipping the ambulance, Stephenson said.
Gene Ainsworth, chairman of the board of directors of the fire protection district, anticipates half the amount needed could be raised through community donations.
Several fund drives already have been started by local mobile home parks..(SMOAC)
Ainsworth also said the board is responding to a request by Santee citizens for implementation of the paramedic unit.
“There is no doubt in my mind that we can save more lives if we are given the proper training to do so,” Stephenson said.
Santee had attempted to interest other East County fire agencies in the program but the cost factor ruled out their participation for the time being.
Chief Ron Berry said, “If we get this pilot program started others will follow suit.”
Though Santee will pay the entire cost of training its men, approval of the department’s participation also must be obtained from Sr. Sylvia Micik, director of the county Emergency Medical Services and Dr. J.B. Askew, county health director.
Stephenson said the cost per man is $5,048, including salary for three months while training at Harbor General Hospital in Los Angeles County.
The six firefighters would then work a month in a hospital, most likely Grossmont, for eight hours a day and afterwards return to their fire station.
Before becoming licensed paramedics, the fire fighters would spend another month in the field responding to emergencies with a paramedic nurse or doctor.
Grossmont Hospital has indicated a willingness to act as the base station for the program. Cost involved will be $16,000 for the extra training required of the nurses who will handle the paramedic emergencies. Any action on the part of Grossmont Hospital must still be approved by its board of directors.