Ridgecrest Regional Hospital’s (RRH) Emergency Medical Services (EMS) provider Liberty Ambulance has announced it has reached an accord with Kern County and Hall Ambulance for RRH to assume EMS coverage for the California City area. To support California City, which has a population of approximately 16,000 and a total service area population of 24,000, Liberty Ambulance placed two additional paramedic units in the area effective Sunday, July 26.
“The COVID-19 situation continues to have a significant impact on our ability to deliver timely services,” said John Surface, Chief Operating Officer, Hall Ambulance. “In an effort to shore up some staffing needs in the East Kern we have entered into a temporary mutual aid agreement with Liberty Ambulance to deploy two ALS ambulances into our East Kern 911 system.
"The Liberty ambulances will be stationed at our California City station and will be used for emergency responses and posting as indicated by our current system status deployment plan. All Hall Ambulance EMTs and Paramedics assigned to California City will be temporarily moved to other stations or shifts.”
Kern County public health officials on July 23 noted during a press conference that Hall Ambulance was facing hurdles due to the increased volume call related to COVID-19 cases. As part of the additional procedures, Hall crews had to sanitize the ambulance after transporting a patient, which could take up to five hours. This in turn resulted in extended patient offload times, straining resources and response times.
"This is a tremendous opportunity for our EMS Division to assist our neighbors and allied agencies to provide quality care to Eastern Kern County,” said Fred Hawkins, RRH Director of Emergency Services. “Providing coverage now for Cal City is another step forward in our strategic plan to expand our medical transportation system throughout the region. We're working hard with all agencies involved to coordinate and ensure a smooth transition.”
RRH assumed ownership of Liberty Ambulance in June 2019, which integrated the ground ambulance and paramedic program with the RRH Emergency Services department.
The RRH EMS system encompasses approximately 8,500 square miles including the Ridgecrest area, Lake Isabella, parts of San Bernardino, Inyo, and Tulare Counties, now including California City.