Frequently Asked Questions

Why does a fire truck show up with the ambulance when I call 911?

When a 911 call is made, the closest Advanced Life Support Ambulance with a Paramedic and EMT will respond to the emergency. If the emergency is deemed potentially life threatening by the 911 Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD), a fire apparatus with additional EMTs is dispatched at the same time to ensure there are plenty of highly trained individuals to assist with your emergency. Firefighter/EMTs may also accompany the Paramedic in the back of the ambulance to provide CPR or other necessary care while the Paramedic administers medications or provides other advanced interventions.

I need an ambulance for standby at an event. Who do I contact?

Please contact us at (509) 574-8444. We will be happy to assist you further.

Are ambulances available for school presentations, job fairs, etc.?

We are happy to help out with that! We have done many different “show-and-tell” type events for children, job fairs and other community events in our area. Please call (509) 574-8444 to set up a date and time.

Am I able to do a ride-along with the ambulance?

We do allow people to ride-along on the ambulance. This is generally for people interested in becoming an EMT, or for students currently enrolled in an EMT course. We have previously allowed high-school students (18 years old) to ride-along through school approved career interest programs. If you are interested in ride-along with ALS, please contact or leave a message for our Field Captain, Jeff Davie at (509) 574-8444.

What training opportunities does ALS offer to the community?

We offer a wide-range of classes to the community through our training department. This includes training in First Aid, CPR, and automatic external defibrillator (AED) use. Upon successful completion of a class a card will be issued, which can then be used to meet job requirements throughout many different areas of employment. For more information, contact our Training Captain, John Nokes at (509) 574-8444. A training section of the website will be online in the very near future and will contain class dates, times and descriptions. We also offer classes for health care professionals, including PHTLS, PALS, and ACLS.

What should I do when an emergency vehicle approaches me with lights and sirens?

When an emergency vehicle approaches you should pull to the right side of the road and stop. If you are unable to move to the right, stop and allow emergency vehicles to move around you. This will allow the vehicle to safely pass you and continue to the emergency. If you are at an intersection you should stop and allow the emergency vehicle to safely pass through the intersection before continuing.

RCW 46.61.210

What should I do when I see an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the road with red/blue lights?

If you are on a freeway or highway, if possible, move to the far lane away from the emergency vehicle and reduce your speed by 10 – 20 mph. If you are unable to move into the far lane, reduce your speed by 10 – 20 mph and be cautious of emergency responders in the area. There is a new state law requiring this for all Washington drivers.

Move On AmericaRCW 46.61.212Washington State Patrol Brochure

Why do emergency vehicles go through an intersection with lights and sirens and then turn them off?

Sometimes, on the way to a call, the emergency vehicle is canceled. Another ambulance may have become available closer to the emergency, the patient was not found, or the responding ambulance was cancelled by another responder. The ambulance that went through the intersection is now back “in service” and is no longer responding to any emergency, so the lights and sires are shut off and the ambulance returns to a station.

Why do ambulances use sirens all the time, even at night?

Lights and sirens must be activated when en route to an emergency when other vehicles are in the vicinity, or when moving through an intersection. This helps ensure both the safety of our crew, and the safety of other motorists. Safety is our #1 goal.

What steps can I take to make it easier when the ambulance arrives?

The first step is to make sure we can find you. Be sure your address is easily visible, especially at night. If any street signs are missing near you, be sure to contact the city you live in or the County and have them replaced. In addition to the address, also inform the 911 dispatcher if there are any special directions that are required to find your or the patients location. For example, "300 feet past the paved road, 3rd house on the left," "the red pickup truck just east of the intersection of 66th and Tieton," or "in the alley behind the grocery store at 6th and Main Street."

It is helpful if pets and animals are secured away form the patient space so as to not interfere with patient care. Turn the TV or stereo off. We usually will bring Oxygen with us, so there should be no one smoking in the vicinity when we arrive. Having the patient's medications gathered, or a list of them and any other pertinent medical information is very helpful in caring for you or your loved ones.

What is the difference between an EMT and a paramedic?

An EMT Basic is a highly trained individual proficient in administering life-saving care to sick and injured individuals. These individuals are trained to recognize immediate threats to life, and are able to provide rapid care and transport to the nearest hospital. Common skills include basic airway management, spinal immobilization, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, bleeding control, preventing shock, and cardiac automated external defibrillation use. An EMT-Basic is also able to administer certain medications, including oxygen, aspirin, oral glucose and activated charcoal. An EMT Intermediate is able to perform all the skills of an EMT Basic, and has further training in medication administration, airway management and IV access.

A paramedic is the highest trained prehospital provider on the ambulance. These individuals must have worked as an EMT Basic for at least two years, and undergo a rigorous 3000+ hours of training both through classwork and clinical (hospital and ambulance) sites. This is done through a state accredited program or university. Paramedics administer over 40 medications in the field and are proficient in advanced airway management, advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support and prehospital trauma life support. Paramedics and EMTs work side by side on our ambulances, providing the best care possible to our patients.

How do I become an EMT or paramedic?

To become an EMT there are classes offered both through Yakima County, surrounding community colleges and universities. Many local volunteer fire departments also offer EMT training through the county, held at various times throughout the year. We recommend you contact the Yakima County EMS office for further information. To become a paramedic, you must work as an EMT for a minimum of two years. A list of approved paramedic training locations can be found here.

Who do I speak to regarding an ambulance bill?

Our Billing Department will be happy to assist you with any billing inquiries. They can be contacted at (509) 574-8444 during normal office hours, Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm. A message can be left if calling after hours and they will get back to you as soon as possible. If you would like to pay your bill online, please click HERE.

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For dispatch & other inquiries, call (509) 574-8444