Emergency Medical Services

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Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are provided 24 hours each day by highly trained Firefighters, dual-role Firefighter/Paramedics, and Ambulance Operators. With Fire Stations located in each corner of the City, our Fire Engines or Truck Company will arrive quickly at any emergency and are prepared to deliver Basic Life Support and cardiac defibrillation when needed. Often arriving concurrently or within seconds afterwards, our Paramedic Teams are specially trained and equipped to treat Advanced Life Support illnesses and injuries. An example of these advanced medical treatments, include: the administration of medications, cardiac monitoring/defibrillation, and respiratory therapies. In addition, for potentially life-threatening emergencies, our Paramedics will transport our patients to the most appropriate area hospital. For lesser emergencies, we have a Basic Life Support Ambulance ready to transport patients as well. Both transportation options are included in the popular City offered, Emergency Transportation Subscription Program

The EMS Division, located at Fire Station No. 1, is managed by a dedicated team consisting of an EMS Battalion Chief, an EMS Coordinator, a Nurse Educator, and an EMS Equipment Coordinator. Together, the management team is responsible for program administration, training and certification, Quality Improvement, equipment procurement and maintenance, legal aspects, and fiscal responsibility.

Emergency Transportation Subscription Program

Personnel in uniform with ambulanceEach year over 6,000 patients are transported by ambulance in The City of Downey.

The Emergency Transportation Subscription Program is a supplemental insurance that will cover any “out of pocket” expenses for emergency transportation. If you have medical insurance, the City of Downey will bill that insurance carrier for the full cost of the service. Any unpaid balance will be covered by the Emergency Transportation Subscription Program. Billing your insurance company helps maintain the minimal annual fee charged to subscribers. As a subscriber, all permanent residents of your household will be covered by the Emergency Transportation Subscription Program. In some cases, they may be required to provide proof of residency that was valid on the date of service, such as California ID, California Driver’s License, or other identification.

While no one plans on needing emergency ambulance transportation, here are the facts:

  • Basic Ambulance Transportation Fees begin at $1,391.00 per occurrence.**
  • Advanced Paramedic Transportation Fees begin at $2,102.50 per occurrence.**

**Per The County of Los Angeles General Public Ambulance Rates effective July 1, 2017.

The subscription period of the Emergency Transportation Subscription Program is March 1, 2019 through February 28, 2020.

To Enroll: Print and complete the bottom portion of the Emergency Transportation Subscription Enrollment Form 2019-2020 and return it with a check or money order payable to the 'City of Downey' in the amount of $65.00 to:

City of Downey
Emergency Transportation Subscription Program
P.O. Box 607
Downey, CA 90241

For additional information, please call the City of Downey Fire Department at 562-904-7345.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • ETSB

    • What does the Subscription Program Cover?

    • Who does the Subscription Program Cover?

    • When does the Subscription Program Cover?

EMS History

Black and white photo of emergency medical personnelThe Downey Fire Department’s EMS history began in 1974 when 8 firefighters from the Department were selected to attend Paramedic training. However, the concept of Paramedic providers began 5 years earlier when on September 12, 1969, 6 firefighters from Los Angeles County Fire Department enrolled in a pilot Paramedic program at Harbor General Hospital. These initial paramedics were trained by Dr. J. Michael Criley and Critical Care Unit Nurse Carol Bebout. In December of that year, LA County Fire Rescue Unit, Squad 59, was placed into service with the paramedics on this squad responding to calls for services from Harbor General Hospital accompanied by Coronary Care Unit Nurses. At the time, no legislation existed permitting paramedics to practice medical care. Then on July 14, 1970, The Wedworth-Townsend Paramedic Act was signed into law by then Governor Ronald Reagan and California became the first state to adopt legislation defining “certification” and permitting paramedics to provide advanced medical life support. Three years later, the Emergency Medical Services Systems Act of 1973 was signed into law, establishing federal grant funding for EMS systems and expanding paramedic training.

Vintage photo of emergency medical personnelThe Downey Fire Department’s Paramedic service commenced in June of 1974 when 8 firefighters were selected to attend an intensive 5-month training program at the Paramedic Training Institute located at the University of Southern California (USC) Medical Center. This initial group of 8 trainees included firefighters Dave Cluff, Clint Crosby, Forrest Darling, Steve Knight, Bruce Robinson, Ed Shubin, Don Slumpff, and Bob Wheeler. Upon graduation from the Program, the newly trained Paramedics were able to provide pre-hospital advanced medical and trauma care to the citizens of Downey. Then on November 9, 1974, on Rescue 641 out of Fire Station # 1, Paramedics Dave Cluff and Bruce Robinson responded to the first “Paramedic” call in the City.

By 1985, with increasing calls for medical service and the northeast part of the City relying on Santa Fe Springs Fire paramedics for emergency medical services (as Santa Fe Springs was the nearest paramedic unit), the City of Downey decided to add a second paramedic squad. And in March 1986, Paramedic Squad 642 was placed into service at Fire Station # 4 at 9349 Florence Avenue. Squad 642 began providing advance medical care to the North and East portions of the City. Also that year, the Fire Department initiated the advance life support (ALS) transport subscription program. This program offered residents the ability to pay a small annual fee to cover the cost of ALS transport. With this subscription fee, any need for transport would not result in out-of-pocket cost to the residents. In 1999, to provide more rapid transport of non-critical patients and maintain Paramedic services available for the critically injured and/or ill patient, Downey Fire implemented the Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance service. On December 7, 1999, BLS Rescue 644 was placed into service and housed at Fire Station # 3 at 9900 Paramount Blvd. Rescue 644 is now designated 645 and is staffed by 2 Ambulance Operators. A second BLS Rescue Ambulance (646) was placed in service at Fire Station #2 in 2012.

Today, the Downey Fire Department proudly continues its delivery of the highest level of medical care to the community. Since the Department’s inception of Paramedic services in 1974, 84 firefighters have been trained as Paramedics. Today, over 80% of all calls for service are EMS related and, in 2016, Downey Fire Paramedics responded to 7,856 emergency medical incidents.

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