EMS System Surge Plan

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is a program of Kern County Public Health – It’s mission is to assure the safety and health of Kern County residents by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual quality improvement in emergency medical service care.

EMS includes the system of services organized to provide rapid response to serious medical emergencies, including immediate medical care and patient transport to definitive care in an appropriate hospital setting.

Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kern County is seeing a significant increase in 911 calls and strain on our emergency response system. Therefore, a plan is being implemented that includes alterations to the normal EMS system of care to provide the best level of patient care, and increase our capacity to respond by integrating additional resources as the system becomes further impacted by the current pandemic.

Not locally, but many counties (i.e. San Bernardino, Inyo, Mono, Riverside, Fresno) are taking similar actions during this pandemic.

Currently we expect that ambulance service will be available for emergency transports and EMS will continue to monitor the situation to ensure our highest level calls are responded to. By adding additional resources to the system, we will ensure that the system remains strong and available to respond to our community.  

If it is determined that your call would most appropriately be handled by contacting your medical provider or by visiting an urgent care and that a visit to the emergency room is not likely warranted, an ambulance may not be dispatched to respond to your call.  All 911 calls will be routed to a 911 operator who will help determine the severity of your call.  If an ambulance is not able to respond, the County has integrated an additional emergency response agency into the system to respond to low acuity calls. You will also be provided with instructions on the appropriate steps to take.  

This team of emergency medical technicians provided through a local safety company, Pro Safety will arrive and assess and evaluate your medical condition. While this strike team cannot provide transportation, they will provide a referral to the appropriate level of care.

Only call 911 in the event of an actual emergency.

Continue to practice healthy habits such as staying home, washing your hands often, wearing a face covering when you must leave for home and avoid gathering with those not in your own household.

Stay up to date on the current COVID-19 guidance and recommendations at kernpublichealth.com

Follow the care instructions from your healthcare provider and Kern County Public Health. If you have questions, call Public Health at 661-321-3000 M-F.