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Ambulance funds approved for Natomas | News

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Ambulance funds approved for Natomas

SACRAMENTO - The Sacramento City Council voted Tuesday night for a motion to include funds for two dual-role paramedics in the general budget for 2015-2016.

If included in an upcoming budget vote, the funds would staff two firefighter-paramedics for an ambulance at Station 30 in North Natomas.

Residents argued that Natomas, with 100,000 residents, has 20 percent of the city's population, but only a little more than seven percent of the city's fire protection services. The vote came after emotional testimony from more than two dozen residents and concerned citizens.

"I couldn't imagine, if you put yourself in my position that day, standing over a loved one, and you lose them because you don't have the proper response," said one unidentified resident who recalled waiting for firefighters to arrive when he had suffered a pair of gunshot wounds.

"We lose 5,000 calls a year to outside agencies at $1,400 a transport, I'm not understanding why this is even an issue," Sacramento resident and firefighter Capt. James Butler said. "These ambulances fund themselves."

Council member Angelique Ashby, who represents the Natomas area, beseeched the council to support the funds. She argued the area had waited until after other areas of the city were restored to staffing levels before the economic crisis of 2008 and the following city budget cuts.

"It's our turn. It's Natomas' turn. And you cannot turn your back on them now," Ashby told her fellow council members. "I did not turn my back on you. In fact, I led for you on fire."

The council did not agree to any funds for a second fire truck for Station 43 that many Natomas residents are demanding.

The addition of another ambulance staffed with two dual-role paramedics should help shorten response times for medical calls in the North Natomas area.