New paramedic unit added to Fire Station 115 unveiled at Cerritos College

Jasmine Martinez, News Editor

Cerritos College hosted the unveiling of a new paramedic unit on Sept. 10, for Fire Station 115, located near Alondra Boulevard and Gridley Road, making it the only station in Los Angeles County with two units.

The new unit will service Cerritos and Norwalk and will be located across the street from the Cerritos campus.

Janice Hahn, Los Angeles county supervisor, believes the added unit will help save more lives.

“Paramedics are able to reduce response time,” she said, “It’s a very busy fire station, they get a lot of 911 calls, so adding a paramedic unit really will save lives”

President of Cerritos College Jose Fierro, mentioned that the population density in the area is really high and having a second unit will improve efforts to attend to the community a lot faster.

A portion of Parking Lot 1, east of Gridley Road, was closed off to hold the event.

“We have a good partnership with the city and the fire station. Obviously, every time there’s an emergency on campus or something like that, they’re the first to be on the scene since we’re so close.

“So, it was a natural collaboration to offer our facility for them to be able to celebrate the opening of their second [unit],” said Fierro.

Daryl Osby, Los Angeles County Fire Department Chief, emphasized on the influence of the “firefighters who [were there that day], the importance of teamwork [and] the importance of effective communication.”

“There’s nothing more noble than public service,” he said.

Also present was a mobile stroke unit, the only one on the West Coast according to Hahn.

CT Technician for the stroke unit Kevin Brown, said they cover nine cities overall, including Cerritos, Norwalk, Artesia, Bellflower, Signal Hill and part of Whittier.

Brown said, “The primary purpose is just to go out. We respond with 911 dispatchers and we go whenever there’s a possible stroke. We have our doctor that’s onboard with us and she will evaluate the person [on] scene, wherever it happens to be.”

With the mobile stroke unit, they carry a CT scanner, a doctor and medications to break up clots with them.

The whole purpose is just to speed up that time, the time when symptoms start, to treatment. We can start treatment before we leave their house, said Brown.

“Anytime you have a stroke, the longer it takes, the more damage is done to your brain, the less likely you are able to recover back to your normal self before your stroke,” he explained.

The mobile stroke unit is specific to patients who are having a stroke, whereas paramedics respond to 911 calls.

Hahn would like to see a mobile stroke unit covering all of Los Angeles County, but acknowledges it takes money and resources.

“The county put in about $1.5 million to partner with UCLA and the Gluck Foundation,” she said.

Osby was proud to say the department is improving their ability to provide better life services in the community. “This gives you another tool to execute the primary mission of the Los Angeles County Fire Department– life and safety,” he said.