Council Extends Ambulance Service for Non-Emergencies

Dennis Evanosky - Alameda Fire Department Chief Mike D’Orazi reported to the City Council recently about his department’s Basic Life Support program, which provides non-emergency ambulance service.

At its June 17 meeting, the City Council gave a unanimous thumbs up to extending Alameda Fire Department’s (AFD) Basic Life Support program. The service involves transporting patients by ambulance on non-emergency calls like doctors’ and dialysis appointments. Under the program AFD personnel also transport patients between facilities and stand by at events. 

AFD offers these services for a fee using two of its ambulances staffed by its emergency medical technicians.

Basic Life Support began life as a two-year pilot in February 2012. At the time Alameda Fire Chief Mike D’Orazi told the City Council that the program could earn an estimated $72,879 in its first 12 months of operation and $218,853 the following 12 months. He proposed that AFD start off with a reserve ambulance at Station 4 on Bay Farm Island with six part-timers. 

According to a staff report it cost AFD $291,567 to run the program, a figure offset by just $201,911 in revenue. This left the service $89,656 in the red. However the department is still awaiting payments from insurance companies that total $145,192. Receipt of these payments would put the program in the black with a net income of $55,536.  

D’Orazi said the program has provided opportunities for EMTs who want to become firefighters and police officers, including two employees who were hired by his department.