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EMS transition goes smoothly

January 4, 2019

Stakeholders in the county’s ambulance service say the Jan. 1 transition to city control went off without a hitch.

“We’re starting to turn from setting up the system to the maintenance of it,” county EMS Director Jeff Sargent said.

Sedro-Woolley, Mount Vernon and Burlington are now the primary providers of emergency medical services in central Skagit County, taking the place of the Central Valley Ambulance Authority.

Mount Vernon Fire Chief Bryan Brice and Eron Berg, Sedro-Woolley city supervisor and attorney, both said everything went smoothly as their paramedics took over for Central Valley.

Now that the transition is complete, Sargent said his department is working to form a county EMS Council.

This about 15-member board would represent hospitals, fire districts, law enforcement, cities, towns and ambulance providers as they make recommendations to the EMS system, according to county documents.

Sargent said the goal is to convene the group for its first meeting in February.

From there, he said the ambulance system will continue to work on implementing new technology.

In January 2020, he said he wants to be able to dispatch ambulances based on the severity of the emergency call, and by June 2020, he wants to be able to automatically send the closest ambulance to a call.

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