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Budgetary approval from the City Council and the mayor was required for each year of the EMS Plan. Bamattre initiated a labor-management executive committee to prioritize, market and ultimately gain approval of each year’s budget. The committee consisted of members of the Fire Commission, fire department management, the firefighters’ union (United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112) and the Los Angeles City Chief Officers Association.
The first-year implementation of the EMS Plan cost $13.8 million, the second year cost $17.6 million and the third year cost $400,000. In the fourth and fifth years of the EMS Plan (2004/2005 and 2005/2006), the department hopes to obtain funding to achieve the three remaining objectives, including the deployment of an ambulance in every fire station district.
The fire chief and the men and women of the LAFD are pleased with the results of the EMS Plan. Paramedic personnel shortages are a thing of the past, attrition has been reduced from 15% to 8% annually, response times have been reduced in nearly every neighborhood, citizen complaints have been reduced, patient lawsuits have virtually been eliminated, revenue from ambulance transports has increased to over $44 million annually and the number of firefighters volunteering to attend paramedic school continues to grow.
The people who live, work and visit Los Angeles are benefiting from the successful implementation of the LAFD five-year EMS Plan.
William Wells is a captain II/paramedic with the Los Angeles Fire Department. He has 30 years of fire-based EMS experience as an ambulance driver, paramedic, EMS supervisor and paramedic captain with the department. Wells is a past president of United Paramedics of Los Angeles (formerly the LAFD paramedic employee association). For the past five years, he has worked at headquarters in the Planning Section overseeing the creation and implementation of the EMS Plan.