Who are the real San Diego Paramedics ?????
The first San Diego City Paramedics were put in service in 1979 and managed by Medivac. This agreement was contracted with the City of San Diego for a four year contract. In 1984 Hartson Medical Service won the contract for four years and three additional years. They are now know as American Medical Response. In 1993 the CITY and American Medical Services of Fresno contracted to provide emergency service for the citizens of San Diego and visitors to our city for four years.
The Fire Department put a request into the city for an assessment paramedic program to begin serving the public as a back up to the system operating in the hard to serve areas such as Rancho Bernardo and San Ysidro. That system began operation in 1991 as a pilot study. The pilot proved successful and the program was implemented to support the private ambulance services operation and provided quick A.L.S. care to all areas of the city.
In 1997 a decission by the San Diego City Council gave the responsibility of managing and providing emergency medical care to the San Deigo Fire and Life Safety Services in a parnership with Rural Metro. This organization is known as The San Diego Medical Services Enterprise. They will provide first responder paramedics at all 43 stations and provide full A.L.S. care to 911 requests. Also, there will be A.L.S. ambulances that will respond and transport ill or injured people. Additional, there will be 4 rescue ambulance that can provide heavy rescue if needed. Four ambulances will be solely dedicated to hard to serve areas. basic Life Support services as well as Critcal Care Transportation is also provided. This "new sysytem" otherwise known as the "new model" for delivery of emergency services for the city will be enhanced by Rural Metro from Arizona with an additional 12 ambulances. With the influence of the HMO contracted prehospital medical care, the fire dept. could not have operated the system on its own. This combined effort also known as "The San Diego Emergency Medical Services Limited Liability Partnership," or SDMSE, will be a truely unique and dynamic method of service for our city and a model for other cities around the world.
Currently there are approximately 250 paramedics employed as providers of ALS (advanced life support) care to the citizens and visitors of our city. We are State licensed and county accredited. We have certification in Basic Cardiac Life Support; Advanced Cardiac Life Support; Pediatric Life Support and Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support. We have Department of Motor Vehicle certificates for emergency vehicle operation and Medical Examiner Certificates as well. As stated above, we are currently employed by a contractor for management of the paramedic program.
We are trained in 12 lead Electrocardiography and other advanced procedures like chest decompression, and oxygen saturation and glucose monitoring. We strive for excellence in our work and profession. Our "standards of care" are very high and all of our patients get treated with respect and dignity. We are dedicated professionals.
We have been here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 12 months a year since 1979 waiting to be called for assistance. Some of us have been here since the beginning. We have every expectation of being here forever regardless of who our employer is. Sometimes we don't even get a wink of sleep. We respond without delay and transport to the hospital of choice or the most appropriate facility. We stay by your side from the beginning to the end and never leave until we give a complete turn over report to the nurses and doctors. Then we draft up a written report and clean and restock the ambulance for the next response. We have treated your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters, your mothers and fathers, and your friend and neighbors. We have brought the dead back to life and kept others alive until we arrived at the hospital.
We all do this out of career decisions and have dedicated our lives to this profession. We are "professionals" and we are expected to live by these high standards of professionalism both on and off the job. Most of us paid for our training ourselves and went to school on our own time. Some of us are grandparents, most are parents, and a majority of us own homes.
We are loyal to the citizens and to the city. We are even loyal to our contractor employer even though they are most likely temporary. We are here to stay.
We all take pride in our work, and our career and profession.
We are San Diego's Paramedics
by Mitch Mendler E.M.T. Paramedic FireFighter
For more information on "Who we are and what we do," go to "Meet your Local Paramedic."
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