BELL CANYON : Emergency Access Proposal OKd

Ambulances could reach Bell Canyon in eastern Ventura County in half the time, under a proposal approved by the county's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

The board voted to sign an agreement with the Los Angeles Fire Department so the department can provide emergency services to Bell Canyon, a community accessible chiefly by L.A. County roads. Bell Canyon's remote location makes it hard to reach for Careline California, Ventura County's ambulance provider.

According to Barbara Brodfuehrer, administrator of the county's Emergency Medical Services Department, Bell Canyon accounts for only about 15 ambulance calls annually, which is considered low. But the rescue units take an average of 20 minutes to reach the community, a figure that would eventually drop to less than 10 minutes under the new arrangement, she said.

The community already contracts with Los Angeles for firefighting and basic life-support services, such as first aid. Under the agreement, Los Angeles would also provide advanced life-support services such as the administration of medication.

Brodfuehrer said the program could take effect by the end of the year.

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