Mission Statement

To protect and safeguard the health and safety of the community. This is accomplished through the following objectives:

  • Promoting healthy lifestyles and behaviors through education, awareness and prevention of disease.
  • A coordinated and efficient dedication of resources that aggressively responds to threats to the health of the community.
  • A comprehensive approach to health risks by identifying and evaluating causative factors related to diseases including environmental factors and health inequities and disparities.
  • Creation of an environment that supports creative and innovative solutions to emerging health risks and chronic disease.

What is Public Health?

The World Health Organization defines health as “as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well being, not merely the absence of disease.”

Public Health is the science of caring for and improving the health of communities through education, encouraging healthy lifestyles, and the studying of disease and injury prevention.

Public Health ensures the health of entire populations. Populations can be as small as local neighborhoods, or as big as an entire country.

Public Health professionals try to prevent problems from happening through educational programs, developing policies, administering services, and conducting research.

Public Health professionals are different from doctors and nurses who treat people after they become sick or injured. However, Public Health Practice combines many fields. Various health professions, such as nursing, medicine, and veterinary medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy work together on public health issues.

What is Environmental Health?

The Environmental Health Services Department (EHSD) was established in 1989 by the Board of Supervisors and was included as a component department within the Resource Management Agency. Before that time, Environmental Health was a division of the Health Department. The Department is divided into two divisions: the Food, Land and Water Program, and the Hazardous and Solid Waste Program. Administrative Services support staff provides clerical and accounting services to the technical staff.

What is Emergency Medical Services (EMS)?

The Emergency Medical Services Department (EMS) is the lead agency for the emergency medical services system in Kern County and is responsible for coordinating all system participants in the County. Participants include the public, fire departments, ambulance companies, other emergency service providers, hospitals, and EMT training programs throughout the County. The department also provides certification and re-certification for EMT’s, paramedics, specialized nurses (MICN), and specialized dispatchers (EMD).

Caller Calls 911

The Emergency Medical Services system is activated when someone in need calls 911. Emergency Medical Services, known more commonly as EMS, is a public safety service, as essential as police and fire services. EMS is an intricate system of agencies and organizations; communications and transportation networks; trauma systems, as well as hospitals, trauma centers, and specialty care centers.

Response is Started

Once a person in need calls 911 the call is sent to an emergency communications center. These centers then dispatch responders such as police, fire and ambulance personnel. Additionally, they can give life saving instructions over the phone to the caller. The EMS dispatch organizations within Kern County are:

  • Emergency Communications Center (ECC)
  • Hall Ambulance dispatch (OCD)
  • Delano Ambulance dispatch
  • Kern Ambulance dispatch

First Responders

Once dispatched, first responders respond to the scene described by the dispatcher, either from information gathered through the call or available technology. These first responders are so named because they arrive on the scene of an incident within minutes of the initial call for help. These responders are made up of:

  • Arvin Police Department
  • Bakersfield Fire Department
  • Bakersfield Police Department
  • Bear Valley Springs Police Department
  • California City Fire Department
  • California City Police Department
  • California Correctional Institution
  • California Highway Patrol
  • Care Ambulance
  • Delano Ambulance
  • Delano Police Department
  • Hall Ambulance
  • Kern County Fire Department
  • Kern County Sheriff’s Department
  • Kern Ambulance
  • Liberty Ambulance
  • North Kern State Prison
  • Ridgecrest Police Department
  • Shafter Police Department
  • Taft Police Department
  • Tehachapi Fire Department
  • Tehachapi Police Department
  • US Forest Service
  • Wasco State Prison

Advanced Life Support & Transport


Critical Care, Treatment & Transport


Emergency Department & Specialty Care


Training Programs

Along with the continued care provided by the EMS system there is the background training that is carried out in the county. These training programs include the initial training for nurses, paramedics and EMTs. Additionally, there is the need for continuing education to keep skills sharp and maintain licensing, for the State of California and Nationally. Kern County has a robust system for initial and continued education of the medical care providers.

These training programs include:

  • Antelope Valley Medical College
  • Bakersfield College – BP Tec
  • Bakersfield College – Fire Service
  • Bakersfield College – Health Careers
  • Bakersfield College – Paramedic Program
  • Cerro Coso Community College
  • China Lake Naval Weapons Center
  • Employers Training Resource/Hall
  • San Joaquin Valley College
  • Taft College