No changes to Everett ambulance service despite new law

August 12, 2010
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Everett’s ambulances will remain a lifesaver.

A new state law reducing the required number of Paramedics on an ambulance crew will not effect Everett, as the city’s ambulance service, Cataldo Ambulance, will not change staffing levels despite the new law.

"We don’t anticipate doing anything differently than we’re doing right now," said Ron Quaranto, chief operating officer of Cataldo. "We intend to staff all our ambulances at the double Paramedic level. It’s a personal preference and we think it’s the best thing for us to continue as we have been. Our policy is we don’t anticipate any changes here."

Gov. Deval Patrick signed the Municipal Relief Package into law on July 23 and within that package was a plan that would allow ambulances to carry only one Paramedic per truck.

Previously, state regulations required that two Paramedics be on every ambulance along with an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). The only way to get around that rule was to get an official waiver from the state.

Now, with the new law, basic staffing levels in an ambulance include one Paramedic in the back, and an EMT driving.

The provision is slated to cut costs, as Paramedics are more highly trained and also more expensive.

Nevertheless, Cataldo said none of that would be happening in Everett.

"It has its place on the non-emergency stuff more than on the emergency stuff," said Quaranto. " It’s each service and each community. The one thing you have to keep in mind is that you don’t have to follow the new basic staffing levels."

Quaranto said the only time they might use the new basic staffing levels would be on a limited basis with patient transfer trucks, which are a non-emergency setting.

For all other responses though, there will be two Paramedics in Cataldo Ambulances.

Cataldo serves Everett, Revere, Chelsea, Somerville and many other communities.