In 2015, Fallbrook Hospital closed its doors. Prior to its closure, approximately 60% of patients from the North County District’s service area were sent to this hospital for Emergency and Medical Services.
As a result of the hospital closure, NCFPD had to begin transporting patients to hospitals that are two to three times the distance of Fallbrook. This has had a huge impact on response times due to District ambulances becoming engaged for longer periods of time as a result of having to travel to hospitals further away.
To reduce costs, in 2017, the Districted converted its ambulance personnel to single role paramedics and EMTs, which also reduced the number of highly trained firefighters to fight major wildfires, like the Lilac Fire. Further, this will ultimately result in a higher turnover of these critical personnel.
Still, the administrative costs associated with maintaining such a program is approximately $350,000 annually. As a result, District officials are continuing to search for ways to cut costs, but without decreasing firefighting and emergency services being provided to residents throughout the District’s service area.