Dear citizens and visitors of Placentia:
The City of Placentia and their City Council meeting scheduled for tomorrow night (Tuesday, June 4) will include an item on the agenda that City Councilmembers will vote on which, if passed by the Council, will start the process to terminate the long-term relationship that has been developed with the Orange County Fire Authority and the City of Placentia. Instead, effective July 1, 2020, the City of Placentia hopes to have the newly created Placentia Fire and Life Safety Department, which would include a long-term, multimillion-dollar contract with a private ambulance company – Lynch EMS, Inc. (also known as the Lynch Ambulance Company), to provide all responses to medical related emergencies in Placentia with private paramedics providing patient care and transport.
If the Placentia City Council votes to move in this direction, they are putting the health and safety of their residents in jeopardy. Period.
Not only is it not practical for the City of Placentia to establish their own fire protection and suppression agency in just over 12 months, but entering into a contract with a private ambulance company that has never been a first responder in providing 911 emergency medical services for any city in Orange County is a reckless gamble that the residents of Placentia will be forced to endure.
For more than 20 years, the OCFA has been providing first class fire protection, suppression, and advanced emergency medical services in the City of Placentia, working out of Fire Stations 34 and 35. When Placentia residents call 911, they have been able to count on the rapid arrival of experienced, trained, and committed Firefighters and Paramedics from the OCFA to respond and save lives and property on a daily basis.
The OCFA has a well-deserved reputation as being one of the finest All Hazards Fire Departments in the entire State of California. We currently provide service in 23 Orange County cities (soon to be 24 with the addition of Garden Grove this summer) and the unincorporated areas of our cou nty. We are proud of the fact that from the time of our inception, not a single city has left the Orange County Fire Authority – because of our unparalleled experience, resources, and service that we provide at an affordable rate for our member cities.
The Placentia City Council will hold their regularly scheduled meeting tomorrow night, on Tuesday, June 4th. Here is the information:
Placentia City Council Meeting
401 East Chapman Avenue
7:00 pm start time
Agenda item #3B includes the recommendation that the Placentia City Council take the necessary steps to establish their own fire department and contract out EMS services to a private ambulance company with NO history of responding to 911 emergencies in residential communities. In fact, in their written proposal to the City of Placentia, Lynch EMS Inc. writes, “the patients we transport, by policy, are already under the care of a physician in a n ursing care facility or acute care hospital.”
Lynch EMS is similar to most private ambulance companies in Southern California. They are staffed with young, inexperienced EMTs and Paramedics whom are poorly paid, receive minimal benefits, and experience constant employee turnover with EMTs and Paramedics that are quite often in the process of applying to professional fire departments like the OCFA. For a small snapshot of some of the employee reviews that were found on Indeed.com regarding Lynch EMS, please visit this link: https://www.indeed.com/cmp/Lynch-Ambulance/reviews.
For those of you who live in Placentia or have family and/or friends who live in this city, we strongly encourage you to attend the City Council meeting tomorrow night and express your concerns about the dramatic change in fire protection and emergency medical services that the City Council will be voting on. We also encourage you to contact the elected officials in Placentia and let them know about your concerns. These elected officials need to hear from their constituents. They are:
Mayor Rhonda Shader. Email Address: email@example.com
Mayor Pro Tempore Ward Smith. Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Craig Green. Email Address: email@example.com
Councilmember Chad P. Wanke. Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilmember Jeremy B. Yamaguchi: email@example.com
Those who care about the health and wellbeing of the more than 50,000 residents of the City of Placentia should be asking a few very important questions:
1) Why is Placentia the only city looking to leave the Orange County Fire Authority, just as 23 other Orange County cities are happy with the service that they receive at the rate that they are charged?
2) How does the City of Placentia intend to establish their own Fire Department in just one year, considering the fact that it typically takes at least a year to properly screen applications for Firefighter positions, conduct background investigations, and complete a rigorous training academy?
3) In November of 2018 – less than one year ago, Placentia residents overwhelmingly voted to pass Measure U, which implement a one cent sales tax with the promise that this new funding would “Provide funding for essential city services…including quick responses to 911 emergencies… (and) fire protection/emergency medical services.” How is this not a “bait and switch” as voters supported a measure to increase revenue for the City of Placentia by approximately $5 million per year to support core city serv ices, when the number one priority of local government is public safety and leaving the OCFA for a private ambulance provider and the establishment of a currently non-existent fire department will most certainly jeopardize the public safety of Placentia families?
Our longtime Firefighters and Paramedics working out of Fire Stations 34 and 35 – and all of the members of the OCFA – are committed to the people of Placentia. If Placentia decides to leave the OCFA, our Fire Authority will move forward and remain one of the largest, strongest, and most financially viable fire departments in California. This fight is not about us or the Orange County Fire Authority. This is about the people of Placentia who we have been committed to for more than 20 years. THEY will be the ones to suffer if this half-baked proposal moves forward. They deserve better than this.
We hope that our members can spread the word to Placentia residents and stakeholders that they need to speak up and speak out against this terrible proposal. Leaving the OCFA will not save Placentia money and it will not deliver better services. It will only leave their residents in a dangerous situation when it comes to public safety.
So please take a few minutes to share this message with others who will contact Placentia city leaders and attend the City Council meeting tomorrow night to let their voices be heard.
Your Orange County Professional Firefighters