Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Regarding Emergency Responses

Why A Private Ambulance? 
  Emergency Ambulance Service, Inc. (“EAS”) is the contracted ambulance company for Brea, Yorba Linda, Placentia and unincorporated areas of Orange County.  Since paramedics were first deployed in these areas around 1978, the Brea Fire Department and Orange County Fire Authority have provided Advanced Life Support (ALS) and a contracted private ambulance service has provided the transport (ride to the hospital).  While the private ambulance companies providing transport have changed in some areas over the years, this response/transport matrix has remained constant.  This allows fire companies (paramedics) to get back into service quicker and be available for the next response whether it be a medical emergency or a fire.

How/why are patients taken to certain Hospital? 
EAS tries to accommodate a patient’s request to a specific hospital, even in cases when the request is to a facility other than the closest ER.  Of course, there are exceptions.  Patients will be transported to a facility (other than the patient’s request) based on several other factors:

  • Need for Specialty Center, like a trauma center (critical injuries), stroke center, or STEMI receiving facility (heart attack)
  • If patient requests a facility that is on ED diversion due to saturation (overcrowding)
  • If the patient is in extremis, like an uncontrolled airway or uncontrolled bleeding, they are always transported to the closest hospital emergency department (ED)

Who can ride with patients? 
Typically one family member or friend can ride to the hospital with the patient.  Normally the family member or friend will ride in the passenger seat of the ambulance, up front.  This way they can be properly secured with a seat belt.  In addition, this allows the fire department paramedics and EAS personnel to work on the patient without the interference of the family or friend.  One exception is if we are transporting a small (often frightened) child.  Typically the mother or father will ride in the back of the ambulance to the ED.

Billing? The County of Orange establishes 
rates charged for emergency ambulance transport.  A patient transported from a location in the cities of Brea, Yorba Linda, Placentia or a unincorporated area actually receives one bill, which includes transport by EAS.  If fire department paramedics assess or treat the patient additional charges for the ALS response are included.

A bit about rights? 
Patients do have rights when it comes to ambulance transports.  For example, the patient can refuse treatment and transport by signing an AMA (against medical advice) form.  In cases where the patient is unable to speak for him or herself, there is something called “implied consent”?  This means that a reasonable person in the same situation, say unconscious would request treatment and transport.  Patients also have the right to request private transport.  A friend or family member can take the patient to the ED in cases where the patient has not received or is in need of ambulance transport.