Private firm will cover community for next 90 days
OROVILLE – Oroville rural and city EMS have hired Lifeline Ambulance Service to provide emergency services on an interim basis.
“We have hired Lifeline on an interim contract and accepted the resignation of the present crew early, as of 8 a.m., this morning,” said Mayor Chuck Spieth. “The county commissioners and the city signed the contract so there will be no lapse in coverage in the community.”
The mayor continued, “That’s what happens when you are backed into a corner… we were forced into it.”
Wayne Walker, General Manager for Lifeline, said two EMTs would be at the Oroville ambulance station 24 hours a day for call outs. He said they would work on the company’s standard rotational basis of 48 hours on and 96 hours off.
Citing several grievances, including the time it was taking for the county commissioners and the city to come to an interlocal agreement, the volunteer ambulance crew resigned en masse, turning in identical signed resignation letters to the city. In the July 22 letter they criticized the mayor’s conduct at a recent city council meeting and wrote, “Without EMTs the ambulance service cannot legally operate.” They had agreed to continue coverage until Aug. 23 and formed a non-profit service called “North Star” that they said would be available for hire by the county and city.
“Our goal is to reach out to any of the local EMTs that have an interest in serving their community and know and understand the local community. We are really going to encourage them to apply to serve in Oroville,” said Lifeline’s Walker, adding that interested EMTs can apply with Lifeline online.
According to the mayor, the city and county came to an agreement to hire Lifeline on an interim basis, for no longer than 90 days.
“We will make our decision on how we will proceed from there, in the period before the holidays,” said Spieth.
Among the crew that will be covering Oroville, according to Walker, are Bob Garrison, who was washing the EMS District’s ambulances early this morning; Karen Kenyen, Dana Armstrong and Justin McGavin. McGavin lives locally, said Walker.
“He has been working for us for some time and knows the area. I’m sure he’ll be glad to have a shorter commute time,” Walker said.
The crew will be making sleeping accommodations at the ambulance station so that they can be hand call 24 hours a day.