New squad augments critical care in San Pablo

Public officials and residents celebrated the dedication of a new emergency medical service squad in San Pablo Saturday morning, according to a city official.

Following the closure of Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo City Manager Matt Rodriguez said it was more important than ever to augment residents’ access to emergency medical services:

“Especially now with longer ambulance transport times…it will create an opportunity to sustain critically needed fire and emergency services.”

The new squad, based out of the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District’s fire station No. 70, adds two new employees at the station.

Between 80 to 85 percent of all calls annually in the region are for medical services, and Rodriguez said the specialized squad car is less expensive to operate than a fire engine.

The effort is partially funded through a quarter-cent sales tax, which voters approved in November. Measure K will raise a projected $600,000 annually, or roughly 56 percent of the total costs, to support the squad’s operating costs.

Rodriguez said the city would fund the difference.

The squad began operation on May 1 and Rodriguez said that so far, it’s had a very visible presence in the city:

“Everything seems to be going very well.”

Rodriguez said adding the city would re-evaluate its effectiveness after the first 90 days of implementation.

In addition to serving the San Pablo area, the EMS squad will contribute to the region’s mutual aid capabilities, Rodriguez said:

“It’s really a win-win for everybody. It was really nice to have the opportunity today to have the community come out and see the unit.”