TRACY -- It’s where Tracy Fire paramedics can’t go that upsets not only families but city leaders, too.
Frustrated Tracy Fire Chief Randall Bradley addressed the community on Thursday, fighting to change a long standing policy that he said jeopardizes public safety.
“It doesn’t make sense to us and we continue to question how and why we wouldn’t be allowed to respond to emergencies,” Chief Randall Bradley explained.
For years, Tracy fire fighters have only been dispatched to high priority calls which means AMR ambulances take care of the lower level emergencies but here’s the issue.
“Additional people you know are suffering from delayed responses to ambulances, that’s concerning to us,” Bradley said.
The fire chief said often those calls are miscategorized. He added, they know of at least two people in the past year who may have died because Tracy Fire paramedics could not respond.
“I don’t want to cry but it’s scary,” Alice English, a Tracy woman said.
The most recent death occurred on April 29, involving a man in his 50s who went into cardiac arrest, Bradley said. The fire department is not looking to take away transport from AMR, they just want the ability to help.
“We made a commitment not to cancel the ambulance, to let them (AMR) transport all emergencies and even that has fallen on deaf ears,” Bradley said.
The San Joaquin County Emergency Medical Services Agency is behind the policy in question, Administrator Dan Burch told FOX40.
“Negotiations are continuing and we have an agreement in principle. However we do not have access to the city's dispatch. Once access to the data is resolved we should be able to finalize an agreement,” Burch said in an email.
“They have access to all that data. We do not keep any data away from them,” Bradley said.
We also contacted AMR, a spokesman said the fire department fails to arrive before their ambulances over half of the time in a letter to county officials wrote, “the Tracy Council needs to demonstrate they can arrive on scene at least 90% of the time before AMR on the most serious life threatening medical calls.”