Chapter 6.10


6.10.010    Definitions.

6.10.020    Applicability.

6.10.030    License required – Application – Fee.

6.10.040    Standards for license.

6.10.050    Ambulance personnel.

6.10.060    Ambulances and equipment.

6.10.070    Performance standards – Compliance – Records.

6.10.080    Emergency notification.

6.10.090    Response to calls.

6.10.100    Mutual aid.

6.10.110    Penalty for violation.

6.10.120    Appeals.

6.10.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply:

“Ambulance” means a ground vehicle designed and used to transport the ill and injured and to provide personnel and equipment to treat patients before and during transportation where it is not anticipated that emergency medical care will be required during transportation.

“Emergency” means a situation or patient condition (A) in which either of the following procedures is performed: administration of a drug (except oxygen) or initiation of an intravenous line; (B) in which a person requesting ambulance assistance requires immediate response by medically trained personnel; or (C) in which an EMT would assess, in the interest of good patient care, as requiring the assistance of at least a paramedic certified pursuant to Chapter 18.71 RCW and regulations promulgated thereunder.

“Emergency medical technician (EMT)” means a person who is certified as such by the secretary, pursuant to Chapter 18.73 RCW and regulations promulgated thereunder.

“Mutual aid” refers to situations in which a licensed nonemergency ambulance service is required, as determined by the fire department, to make ambulances and personnel available for emergency response under the city’s direction.

“Secretary” means the Secretary of the Department of Health of the state of Washington.

“What-Comm (9-1-1)” means the Whatcom-Comm Emergency Dispatch Center.

“Whatcom Medic-One” is the designated, countywide emergency medical service. [Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].

6.10.020 Applicability.

A. Since emergency medical service is provided in the city by its fire department, the provisions of this chapter shall apply to nonemergency ambulance services based within city limits and also to those whose vehicles enter the city on a regular basis to deliver or pick up patients.

B. Nothing herein shall prohibit the fire department from operating nonemergency ambulance services. [Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].

6.10.030 License required – Application – Fee.

A. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to operate or cause to be operated (as described in BMC 6.10.020(A)) within the city limits an ambulance or ambulance service without first being issued a license therefor by the city. It shall also be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to violate any of the provisions of this chapter.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation (other than the city fire department) to operate or cause to be operated (as described in BMC 6.10.020(A)) emergency ambulance service within the city limits, except as provided in BMC 6.10.100.

C. Such license may be obtained by applying therefor at the office of the city finance director on forms provided.

D. The fee for such license shall be $200.00, and it shall be renewable annually. The fee shall be payable in January of each year for the ensuing year, and there shall be no proration for new applications during the year.

E. To the extent not inconsistent with other provisions of this chapter, the provisions of BMC 6.08.025, 6.08.030, 6.08.040, and 6.08.080, dealing with general issuance of city licenses, shall be applicable to this chapter and are hereby incorporated. [Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].

6.10.040 Standards for license.

A. All applicants shall be appropriately certified by the Secretary, and be in good standing, pursuant to Chapter 18.73 RCW and applicable regulations adopted from time to time. Upon receiving an application and the fee, the finance director shall forward the application to the fire chief for review and approval. No license shall be issued unless the fire chief is satisfied, pursuant to policies duly adopted, that (1) the applicant is properly certified by the state; (2) the applicant’s facilities, ambulances, and equipment meet state standards; (3) employees of applicant are certified and in good standing; (4) a record check of applicant and its employees by the chief of police shows no criminal convictions of offenses having a direct adverse relationship to custody of incapacitated persons, custody of narcotic or controlled substances, or safe driving of emergency vehicles; and (5) the applicant is otherwise in good standing and capable of performing ambulance services.

B. Applicant shall obtain and at all times maintain in full force the following insurance in amounts determined by the legal department: (1) comprehensive general liability, (2) automobile liability for all vehicles, and (3) professional liability. Applicant shall provide an insurance certificate to this effect, naming the city of Bellingham as an additional insured as (1) and (2) above. Such policies shall also provide for prompt advance notice to the city of intended cancellation of coverage. [Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].

6.10.050 Ambulance personnel.

No ambulance shall be operated as such without at least two persons, each of whom shall be an emergency medical technician (EMT), or person licensed or certified by the state as having at least an equivalent or higher level of training, and shall hold a valid Washington State driver’s license. Such personnel shall not have been convicted of offenses having a direct relationship to custody of incapacitated persons, custody of narcotic or controlled substances, or safe driving of emergency vehicles. [Ord. 10149 § 1, 1991].

6.10.060 Ambulances and equipment.

A. Ambulances shall be maintained and inspected pursuant to requirements from time to time adopted by the Secretary. All licensees shall provide the fire department with copies of reports of inspection submitted to the Secretary pursuant to RCW 18.73.145.

B. All ambulances and equipment storage and cleaning areas are subject to inspection by the fire department, at reasonable times, to ensure that they are maintained in a clean and functional state. Disinfection or chemical sterilization of reusable equipment must meet guidelines established by the National Center for Disease Control.

C. Licensees shall take immediate action to eliminate any unsanitary condition when becoming aware of it and shall immediately correct any situation about which the fire chief or the Secretary has delivered written notice.

D. Ambulances shall not be used without the minimum equipment prescribed by the Secretary. In the event any variance from requirements is granted by the state, a licensee must apply for and obtain a similar such variance from the fire department. [Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].

6.10.070 Performance standards – Compliance – Records.

A. All services performed hereunder shall be in accordance with the standards and principles of the course of instruction given EMTs or paramedics, as the case may be, by the state, and pursuant to local medical protocols established from time to time by the Whatcom County medical program director.

B. The fire department shall be informed by the licensee of rates charged and changes in rates which may occur from time to time.

C. Records shall be logged by ambulance crews and shall include the appearance and status of and treatment administered to injured, sick, or incapacitated persons treated or transported. Copies of such records shall be mailed or otherwise delivered to the fire department on a weekly basis, or more often if requested for good cause. Subject to the requirements of the state Public Disclosure Act, such records are confidential and shall be released only to proper officials of the city. [Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].

6.10.080 Emergency notification.

A. In the event a representative of licensee, in responding to a nonemergency call, discovers the existence of an emergency situation, he or she shall immediately (1) call for assistance through What-Comm (9-1-1), (2) comply with all directions which may be given by Whatcom Medic-One, and (3) initiate necessary patient care which the licensee is qualified to give.

B. In the event a call for emergency medical assistance is received by licensee or a representative thereof, the caller shall be directed to call What-Comm (9-1-1). [Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].

6.10.090 Response to calls.

It is unlawful for a licensee in responding by vehicle to any call to use emergency lighting or siren, unless: (A) responding to emergencies or transporting a patient in accordance with the mutual aid provisions of this chapter or (B) directed to do so by the Whatcom Medic-One. [Ord. 10159, 1991].

6.10.100 Mutual aid.

A. A licensee is required to cooperate with any request by the fire department for mutual aid assistance. At such times, the city may dispatch ambulances to any point within Whatcom County. However, in the event of any suit or claim arising out of activities under this section, the city and licensee shall each be responsible for, and to the extent of, their respective liability.

B. Licensee shall equip its vehicles with city fire department frequencies, which however shall only be used by licensees in the event of a mutual aid situation described herein. [Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].

6.10.110 Penalty for violation.

A. In the event of a violation of any provision of this chapter, the fire department shall promptly notify the licensee thereof and, if the situation warrants it, give licensee a reasonable opportunity to take corrective action.

B. Any licensee or employee of a licensee who violates any provision of this chapter shall subject licensee to revocation of license pursuant to BMC 6.08.050. Any person violating a provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction may be imprisoned for 90 days, fined a sum not to exceed $1,000, or both imprisoned and fined. [Ord. 2013-02-006 § 4; Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].

6.10.120 Appeals.

Any person applying for or holding a license under this chapter who believes he or she is aggrieved by an action of any city official in connection with a license may timely appeal the matter to the hearing examiner for review. [Ord. 2002-10-069 § 9; Ord. 10159 § 1, 1991].