San Jose

‘We Have Been Working Very Hard to Make Improvements:' Santa Clara County to Discuss New Ambulance Contract

A fight is brewing over how a new ambulance contract should look in Santa Clara.

"One of the options the county has taken off the table is the possibility of a public private partnership," said David Vossbrink, Santa Clara spokesman.

That was the recommendation from the Santa Clara County Fire Chiefs' Association, which urged the county to be inclusive and accept ideas from the cities it serves before it finalizes its RFP, or request for proposal.

"The RFP he's looking at is just a draft," said Jeff Smith, Santa Clara County executive.

Smith said the board of supervisors will take up the issue on Tuesday. The county executive also said one concern the board has is that the San Jose Fire Department continues to miss its response time standard of getting to a call for service in under eight minutes.

Smith said SJFD is still missing the mark 30 percent of the time.

"Only having a 70 percent response time is putting the citizens of San Jose at risk," Smith said. "And that's not good."

Firefighters confirm those numbers are close to what they are seeing.

"Well we're concerned too," Vossbrink said. "In fact, we have been working very hard to make improvements."

San Jose city officials said the fire department met the goal of making it to a call before eight minutes 90 percent of the time. San Jose suggests the county needs to look at its own response time.

"Firefighters and paramedics are at the scene far before an ambulance gets there," Vossbrink said. "They're already there."

Firefighters said they simply need more boots on the ground to improve their response times. The county said the board will listen to all sides at Tuesday's meeting.

Contact Us