Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lakeside Fire Station 1 is Moving

Lakeside, CA -

After many months of hard work, the Lakeside Fire District has selected a site for the planned relocation of Fire Station 1 (Riverview Ave.). The new site will be at 8035 Winter Gardens Blvd., in the southern section of the fire district near Royal Rd. This planned move is the second phase of a fire station realignment project that began in 2010, with the relocation of the Eucalyptus Hills Fire Station (fs2) to a newly constructed headquarters station at Lakeside Avenue and Channel Rd. (River Park Fire Station).

This new location for Fire Station 1 will improve existing fire station spacing and provide much-improved response coverage for the Winter Gardens Blvd. corridor and the Pepper Drive area of the fire district.

The current plan is to place a temporary facility on the new site with an anticipated beginning of service on or before April 1, 2016. For more details on this important move, please visit the district website HERE.

Lakeside Fire Station Locations - December 2015.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Lakeside and Santee Firefighter Paramedics - 40 years of Service

Lakeside, CA. -

Just over 40-years ago, eight firefighters from two small fire district's in "East County" began serving as the first paramedics in San Diego County. In July of 1975, the first paramedic advanced life support ambulance in San Diego County began serving the citizens of Santee, Lakeside, and Bostonia from Santee Fire District Station 1 on Cottonwood Avenue (now station 4). The assigned crew consisted of one Santee and one Lakeside firefighter-paramedic.

Back in early 1970s, paramedic service was still a new concept in California. Authorized by the state's 1970 Wedsworth-Townsend Act, paramedic services were being provided by only a few agencies statewide, primarily large fire departments in the greater Los Angeles area. In January of 1972, the capabilities of the (firefighter) paramedic truly entered the public consciousness with the popular television program Emergency!. Up until then, both Lakeside and Santee fire districts were providing transport ambulance service at a basic life support level. In 1974, the fire chiefs of the neighboring districts decided it was time to provide a (much) higher level of emergency medical service.

A public information campaign was launched with Santee Fire Captain Jack Stephenson assigned the daunting task of convincing local citizens of the need for the new life-saving service. Captain Stephenson made over 70 presentations to local community groups over the next months. During that period, federal grant funding was secured to help pay for the training costs. In addition to Capt. Stephenson, seven other firefighters were chosen to attend the rigorous advanced training course. In February of 1975, the eight firefighters started their training at newly-established UCSD EMS Training Office (EMSTO). This would become known as Paramedic Class 1.

Following a parallel course, a group of emergency room nurses at Grossmont Hospital started specialized training to become the first "paramedic" nurses in the county. Known as Mobile Intensive Care Nurses (MICN), these dedicated professionals would staff the first paramedic base station, providing medical direction to field paramedics via the EMS radio. Completing the prehospital care team were the first base hospital physicians at Grossmont hospital, ultimately providing 24-hour, real-time oversight of the paramedics operating in the field.

On March 4, 1975, voters in Lakeside, Santee, and Bostonia approved a special tax levy to create the CSA-69 Heartland Paramedic District with a 79% "yes" margin. This established a stable funding source for the new paramedic program.

With the voters approving the new paramedic district, the eight firefighters finished up their training. While the didactic (classroom) and clinical (hospital) instruction took place locally, the mandated field internship portion of the course had to be completed with certified paramedics. Since there were no paramedics in San Diego County, Class 1 trainees headed to Long Beach Fire Department to complete their field internships.

In July, 1975, after months of rigorous training, UCSD EMSTO Paramedic Class 1 graduated. That month, the first Mobile Intensive Care Paramedics (MICP) in San Diego County began serving the citizens of East County.

Lakeside and Santee firefighter-paramedics have been providing advance life support services ever since. The paramedic district currently provides service from four paramedic transport ambulances, two in Lakeside (M2, M3) and two in Santee (M4, M5). Both agencies also have robust paramedic engine programs quickly delivering a firefighter-paramedic to every call for service on board fire engines and truck companies prior to ambulance arrival. Additionally, the dual-role capability of the firefighter-paramedic provides increased daily firefighter staffing for both the City of Santee Fire Department and the Lakeside Fire Protection District.

EMSTO Class 1 Firefighter Trainees. (courtesy Life News)

Grossmont Hospital's First MICNs.

Post by: Captain-Paramedic Scott Culkin, Lakeside Fire District