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The staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Fire paramedic, ambulance or both - how to decide



LARGO - One topic at Monday's meeting between the Pinellas County Commission and St. Petersburg council members was priority dispatch. The idea behind it is to cut costs by sending less equipment to minor medical emergencies. Under a county plan, some callers would get only a Sunstar ambulance and no fire paramedic.

Council members could not see how it would save money to send an ambulance while fire paramedics who are on the clock are left sitting in fire stations. The answer was that the county was sending only an ambulance to calls where historical data indicates there's a high probablility that someone will be taken to the hospital. Among those complaints are hiccups, nervousness, cut off ring requests and bumps.

St. Petersburg Council member Karl Nurse couldn't see the sense in the way the system is set up.

County Commissioner Susan Latvala explained, "It's cheaper."

"But it's stupid," Nurse said. "I mean, I've got nervousness just sitting here."

-- Anne Lindberg, Times Staff Writer


[Last modified: Tuesday, November 1, 2011 1:11pm]


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