Calif. FFs Battle to Be Paramedics

STOCKTON, Calif. --

Stockton firefighters are no longer able to perform paramedic services on the public.

Wednesday at 7 a.m., more than 40 firefighters certified as paramedics will have to take their paramedic equipment off of their fire engines.

I am just worried that the public is going to be at risk, Stocktons Fire Chief Ron Hittle said.

The move is the result of a four-year legal battle between the city and the county.

Its totally asinine that the city and the county should be fighting at each other in court, County Supervisor Larry Ruhstaller said.

The city wants to keep their firefighters working as paramedics, but the county has contracted with American Medical Response, a private company, for paramedic service.

To make matters worse, the fight gets bigger. The county wants AMR to run 911 dispatch instead of having the city do it.

The battle of emergency dispatch and paramedics is far from over.

Weve just run out of time and patience. We just want to resolve this issue. If this is how we bring everybody to the table, then thats what well do, Ruhstaller said.

For now, firefighters can no longer be paramedics in Stockton.

We are not going to be able to provide it tomorrow (Wednesday). Thats the tough part. You dont sleep well and you worry about every instance the bell hits if it going to be one of those calls, Hittle said.

The reason for the Sept. 1 deadline is the end of a two-month extension the county gave the city after the court said the issue had to be resolved.

The city is appealing it.

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