Here is an update on medical and fire services

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There have been many inquiries as to how emergency calls within the City are being handled. Although we obviously cannot divulge personal information, we can assure citizens that 911 calls in the City have been responded to in accordance with our declaration of local emergency.

In the past, a large majority of ours calls have been medical, which still holds true in our current situation. When a medical call comes in, we ask for an engine to respond.  The Duty Chief assesses the call and ultimately decides whether to send the requested engine with the AMR responder. We have requested engine response with AMR in each instance. It is important to remember that our current situation has no bearing on AMR’s responses and response times and that they have not changed the way they operate.

Vicki Warren & Dawn Haggerty, Councilwoman

Vicki Warren & Dawn Haggerty, Councilwoman

While we have been tracking the types of calls and responses thereto, the only information we are given relates to the call and which entity responded but does not go into great detail as to final outcome. We are aware that there is considerable discussion related to one incident in particular that occurred on July 27.

In that case, as soon as we received notice that there was a severe medical call, we requested dispatch records. It appears a call was made to 911 with a report of a person down but conscious; the call was assessed and assistance was dispatched.

The medical situation escalated during a second call and AMR in turn escalated their response. Although we do not receive in-depth reports on medical patients, for this particular patient we did learn that the patient was transported to the hospital but then sadly passed away sometime later, in the hospital.

Fire Services

As to our fire services, staff continues to work on the vital components that must be in place before hiring for the department. Mutual aid agreements and dispatch agreements are still being developed. A budget will be going to our Finance Committee on August 11, and additional fire-related documents will be going to the City Council on August 12.

As we continue to move forward, we must work together through this less-than-ideal situation. Previously, Canyon Lake tried twice to get a measure passed to save Station 60. The community on both occasions said they would not fund it. Then a Utility User Tax (UUT) was passed, which still was not sufficient to keep Station 60 open at the escalating costs for Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire coverage. Because twice the citizens voted to allow Station 60 to close, when faced with insurmountable costs, the City moved away from Cal Fire.

Because the County continues to make it clear that Station 60 is not viable (when Station 5 is moved to Audie Murphy’s new fire station, 60 becomes 100 percent obsolete), if the citizens have changed their minds about allowing 60 to close, we must come up with something that works.

It is important to be aware that what we have right now, aside from finalizing several agreements, is exactly what was voted for and exactly what we will have as an unincorporated area.

The only chance we have to bring control of Station 60 back to the citizens of Canyon Lake is to continue to build our own fire department and seek the relationships necessary for supporting fire services.

This is a trying time for Canyon Lake and her citizens. We are working through this as quickly as possible and are relying heavily on the support of the systems around us, as mandated by our emergency declaration. We want to take this opportunity thank the County for its support of Canyon Lake’s citizens in this time of fluctuation.

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Sharon Rice