On Eastside, some 911 calls get lighter response

When a King County resident calls 911 with a medical problem, the system quickly dispatches an aid car or a fire engine, stocked with expensive lifesaving equipment and emergency medical technicians or highly trained paramedics. Sometimes, though, there isn't any real medical emergency — the call is from someone who has fallen and can't get up, someone with a drug- or alcohol-related problem, a patient who needs a new tank of oxygen or someone without insurance who needs primary-care help. With emergency calls increasing significantly and budgets tightening, King County Emergency Medical Services has just begun a pilot program with Eastside Fire and Rescue aimed at keeping trained emergency responders and their rigs free to help people with heart attacks and other serious medical emergencies... Read More

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