IN THE BEGINNING
The Western Slope of El Dorado County began with a total of two ambulances. One was Foothill Ambulance, a private provider, and the Pollock Pines Fire Protection District. In 1976, the existing private ambulance company terminated their contract with the County. The Board of Supervisors and a couple of Fire Chiefs proposed to change the existing system to a fire based system and meet the population demands and the increasing needs for ambulance services on the Western Slope.
ESTABLISHMENT OF COUNTY SERVICE AREA #7
The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors authorized a General Election to be held November 2, 1976, to determine if a County Service Area No. 7 should be established to provide ambulance service with a maximum authorized tax rate of fifteen cents per $100 assessed valuation.
The affected area designated as County Service Area No. 7 is generally described as follows: “All that portion of the County of El Dorado, State of California, lying westerly of the “Great Basin and Pacific Watershed Divide,” commonly known as the western slope of El Dorado County including that portion of the western slope within the boundaries of the City of Placerville.”
As a result of the successful election outcome Resolution No. 316-76 of the Board of Supervisors of the
County of El Dorado was passed on December 7, 1976 organizing County Service Area #7 (CSA7) pursuant to the provisions of Section 25210.1 et seg of the Government Code of the State of California.
In July 1977, the first ambulance provider contracts were negotiated and signed between Diamond Springs/El Dorado and Pollock Pines Fire Protection Districts to provide ambulances services to the citizens of CSA7. The CSA7 funds were used to provide funds for the staffing and medical supplies for the ambulances.
In the following years ambulances were added to the system as the population and the medical incidents increased. In 1981 an ambulance was added to the Georgetown Fire District to cover the northeast portion of the County. In 1985 ambulances were added to Pleasant Valley and Cameron Park areas. In 1991 an ambulance was added for the City of Placerville. In 2001 an ambulance was added to the El Dorado Hills area, and in 2004 an ambulance was added to Diamond Springs/El Dorado.
There is a total of eight ambulances, most of them with backup units staged in the County at all times. These ambulances are used for the benefit of all and as they are assigned to various Districts or areas, they can be relocated, as needed, around the County.
THE JOINT POWERS AUTHORITY
In order to provide a more comprehensive emergency medical system it was recommended that the Fire Districts develop a Joint Powers Authority. In 1996 the El Dorado County Regional Prehospital Emergency Services Operations Authority (JPA) was formed for the purpose of ensuring automatic aid between the fire agencies for the delivery of an extensive, prehospital emergency medical service in an efficient manner without regard to jurisdictional boundaries.
A joint Emergency Command Center would dispatch the closest fire unit and the simultaneous dispatch, the closest medic unit (ambulance). Prior to the JPA there were limited Advanced Life Support engines; the primary goal was to increase the number of Advanced Life Support engines.
Key components of the JPA system include:
• Medical Control
• Centralized Dispatch Center with Emergency Medical Dispatch Trained Personnel
• Single West Slope of the County Emergency and Non-Emergency Transport System
• Optimum Ambulance Placement
• Cross Training of EMS Personnel
• Rescue and Extrication Expertise
• Daily Training
• Equipment Maintenance & Management
• Firefighter/Paramedic Personnel from Sub-contracting Fire Agencies Staffing the Ambulances
• Compliance with Standards
Members of the JPA include the following agencies:
• CAL FIRE – Emergency Command Center
• Cameron Park Community Services District
• Diamond Springs/ El Dorado Fire Protection District
• El Dorado County Fire Protection District
• El Dorado Hills Fire Protection District
• Georgetown Fire Protection District
• Garden Valley Fire Protection District
• Mosquito Fire Protection District
• Pioneer Fire Protection District
• Rescue Fire Protection District
• Marshall Medical Center
Sub-contracting Fire agencies to the JPA operate the medic units and are paid for their costs with funds from CSA7. These costs include personnel, training expenses, fire station use to house the medic units, and administrative overhead. Non-transporting fire agencies receive funds from CSA7 for medical supplies. Some of these agencies operate full-time paramedic engines while others operate part-time advanced life support engines.