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Petition Circulates to Change the Way Emergency Calls are Handled in Tracy

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TRACY -- For Paula Baca and Alice English of Tracy, their petition drive is a matter of safety -- a matter of life or death.

“Now they’re not responding to all our 911 calls and we want that policy to be changed. It’s our safety, it’s our lives,” English told FOX40.

The two are spearheading a petition called, “Emergency Response Policy Number 3202” online and on the street, demanding serious change in the way emergency calls are handled in the city.

“We’re the only county affected like this. It’s life and death,” Baca said.

Right now, Tracy fire paramedics respond to high priority medical calls. AMR takes care of the lower level incidents. Tracy Fire Chief Randall Bradley wants the department to take care of all calls because he said some of those lower level calls end up being more serious than expected.

“We’ll have a paramedic fire engine available and nearby and it will not get dispatched to what ends up to be a very serious call,” Fire Chief Bradley explained.

Everyone FOX40 spoke with brought up the same example. Last Easter, a woman was having trouble breathing at a nursing facility so they called 911. An AMR ambulance was dispatched but they were experiencing a delay so the Tracy Fire Department was called but by then it was too late. The woman had died.

We spoke to Dan Burch, the administrator with the San Joaquin County Emergency Medical Services. He said they’re already on board with allowing the fire department to respond to all calls. AMR will still transport patients to local hospitals. The county is just waiting for the access to the city’s dispatch data.

Burch added they also need assurance they will have access to all of the electronic patient care records. The administrator also said they are meeting with Tracy city officials this Friday and once the details are all worked out, the potential change has to be approved by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors and Tracy’s City Council.

Mayor Robert Rickman is hopeful that everything will be worked out soon.

“We’re hoping to an end very quickly. Hopefully you know by the end of this month,” Rickman said.

But for the families we spoke to, they’ll continue to collect signatures until they see that change on paper.