PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Bay County is setting the record straight when it comes to first response after Panama City decided to phase out their first response EMS services, saying that it’s a county responsibility.
“That’s a responsibility of law enforcement and fire agencies,” said County Manager, Bob Majka. “That’s not a service that the county provides in the municipalities.”
He says that first response and basic life support have long been considered to be a part of fire and police department services, as city first responders can often get to a scene faster and keep a patient stable while advance life support (ALS) and hospital transport is en route; those ALS and transport units are what Bay County provides.
The level of first response care a city provides, he says, is up to the city. Most other Bay County municipalities provide some kind of additional emergency medical support.
Some Panama City residents are concerned their safety hangs in the middle of this conversation.
“I don’t want to see anyone’s life put at risk because they couldn’t have a responder there because it wasn’t their job,” said Tony Bostick, one of these residents.
Majka says, not to worry.
“Based on my conversation with the city manager, it’s being looked at in the form of, what calls do the city need to continue to go to versus not continue to got to,” he said.
That conversation will continue until they come up with a final plan that puts residents first. In the meantime, Panama City firefighters will continue to respond to medical calls.