County looks at new option for cutting emergency service costs

Photo: Clipart.com

County looks at new option for cutting emergency service costs

KGMI News Reporting
By Mike Curtiss

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. – Whatcom County Executive Jack Louws has recommended a new option for operating ambulance services with the City of Bellingham in aimed at cutting costs.

The new option calls for three paramedic units based in Bellingham, one fully-staffed unit in Ferndale, and an extra unit to manage calls and act in emergency situations.

The current system includes four Bellingham-based ambulance units and a partially-staffed unit in Ferndale that only serves parts of the county.

Bellingham Interim Fire Chief Roger Christensen says the plan would reduce the number of emergency calls that the county can respond to at one time.

Play Roger Christensen on emergency response

Christensen says the county may have to cut down on some of the types of emergencies they send paramedics to.

Louws says the current ambulance system is too expensive to maintain, and will be out of money in 2016.

All of the current options on the table for a unified medic-one system would use deficit spending, meaning the county will eventually need to find a new source of revenue for emergency medical services.