News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 07/29/2013
Subject :

Palo Alto Minimally Affected by Possible County Ambulance Service Changes
Contact : Claudia Keith, Chief Communications Officer    650-329-2607
Palo Alto, CA – Palo Alto anticipates there will be minimal impact to City operations if Santa Clara County's private ambulance provider, Rural/Metro, cannot meet its emergency services obligations due to financial or labor problems. County officials have warned the company that it is close to losing its $375 million contract due to performance failures, and alerted all local fire chiefs – including Palo Alto – of the possibility and alternatives if the company cannot continue to provide paramedic services and ambulance transports for the county’s almost two million people.    

Rural/Metro provides a small amount – approximately 5 percent – of Palo Alto’s emergency transportation services, but Palo Alto Fire Chief Eric Nickel says that the City is prepared. 

"Palo Alto is the only fire department in Santa Clara County that controls its own ambulance service," said Nickel. “We will be minimally impacted and have the ability to put additional emergency medical service resources into operation rapidly if needed. The community can still expect to receive the same high quality, effective and dependable emergency medical services that we strive to provide. Being able to control your own service levels is one of the strategic benefits of managing your own Fire, Rescue and EMS department.”

In May, the City placed a third paramedic ambulance into service at Fire Station 2 on Hanover that serves the entire community and Stanford. As emergency medical calls have increased, Rural/Metro ambulances were responding into Palo Alto on a daily basis, sometimes from 20 to 30 minutes away. The additional paramedic ambulance will result in improved response times to EMS calls, and will deliver a minimum of two firefighters/paramedics on every call. The Fire Department now supports the community’s EMS needs with a total of three advanced life support paramedic ambulances and one basic life support ambulance staffed with emergency medical technicians. In addition, paramedics and emergency medical technicians staff fire engines and ladder trucks.