PARAMOUNT, CA — 50 years ago Los Angeles County was one of the first regions in the country to deploy medical paramedics along with firefighters to pave the way for the modern 9/11 system in the country.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department, and LA County Supervisor Janet Hahn whose father helped build the EMS system, gathered in Los Angeles recently to commemorate its 50th anniversary.
“It’s hard to imagine a time before we had paramedics before we could expect a highly trained and capable paramedic to come to our aid when were hurt or sick. We take these life-saving services for granted. These days but it was not that long ago when the idea of paramedics was considered unconventional and it was even ridiculed.”
With an increase in mass shootings nationwide, and prolonged fire seasons especially in California, the EMS is on higher alert than ever, including Fil-Am fire engineer Jonathan Carnero, whose 13 years in the department has been his dream job.
But as Los Angeles celebrates half a century since this life-saving system, the county’s fire department which also operates the paramedics has been facing funding issues as it responds to wildfires, gun violence, and other emergencies both in their areas as well as neighboring counties.
“At the same time our call volume has gone up, the last three years, we’ve been unable to purchase equipment for our firefighters, for our paramedics.”
“We do what we can with what have and we can only respond to the calls that we’re sent to.”
And as they serve and find ways to raise funds, they’re also doing a public campaign with ethnic media services to raise awareness on these challenges.
But despite the challenges, LA County fire continues to not only respond but stay prepared for that next important call.