W. Richland ambulance goes into service today

A new ambulance run by Benton Fire District 4 will hit the streets in West Richland beginning at 8 a.m. today.

Chief Mike Spring said the district received a provisional license from the state Department of Health on Monday allowing them to begin operating the ambulance service.

Voters approved a special EMS levy last spring for the ambulance service. For years, West Richland residents needing to go to the hospital were taken by ambulances from Richland or Benton City.

Spring said the ambulance will respond to all medical emergencies, but if there's not a paramedic available they still will rely on Richland for calls that require advanced life support care, such as heart attacks and traumas.

The fire district has one full-time paramedic and a volunteer paramedic, Spring said. He hopes to have three more paramedics hired and the ambulance service fully operating by May.