This week the City Council and board of the South County Fire Authority approved a long-negotiated deal with the county that allows fire engines to respond to every medical emergency in our area.
The agreement came from the death of a Tracy woman on Easter 2016. Firefighters were not immediately called to respond to her care home because her initial complaint was shortness of breath — which did not rise to the level the county deemed necessary to involve city firefighters.
Since then Chief Randall Bradley, City Manager Troy Brown and the City Council have engaged in a long series of talks to change the rules. After all, the city employs firefighter paramedics who are trained in advanced life-saving techniques and should be allowed to respond along with ambulances.
The final success in this deal can be directly attributed to the persistence and dedication of the city staff, elected leaders, a group of committed residents who launched a petition campaign and — finally and perhaps most critically — the flexibility of the county.
Last week at this time, we were preparing to publish a critical editorial calling on the county to listen to Tracy citizens and reach an agreement with the city and SCFA. The two sides finally came together an hour before we went to print and that editorial became unnecessary — as it always should have been.
This week we want to congratulate the city’s negotiation team, the residents who took it to the people and the county for finding common ground and allowing our professional firefighters to do what they are called to do — save lives.