Our Story

Western Sierra County has had a 40-year history of integrated 24/7 EMS
Services with the Western Sierra Medical Clinic during which the Clinic medical practitioner provided advanced life support to emergency patients who were brought to the Clinic based on being authorized as an Alternate Emergency Care Base Station by Nor-Cal EMS and Enloe Medical Center in Chico. Care was also provided on the ambulance as well and was an integral part of training both existing and new EMTs. 

This changed in 2014 when WSMC decided it could no longer afford to provide those services due to cost and inability to recruit providers with the requisite skills to provide advanced life support (ALS) and emergency care. The Clinic also terminated the Alternate Base Station Agreement with Enloe and therefore the ambulance can no longer take patients to the Clinic for stabilization because it is not an emergency care facility. However, the ambulance can still pick up patients at the Clinic.

This action left a major deficit in the availability of ALS services to western Sierra County. The ambulance staffing has several advanced EMTs who can provide some ALS care including King Airway, Epi-Pens for allergic reactions, Glucagon injection for insulin shock as well as IV and injectable Narcan for opiate overdose. They are not able to provide Advanced Cardiac Life Support or Pediatric Advanced Life Support.

Consequently, Sierra Frontier was formed as a non-profit corporation, to address this need. Our purpose is to acquire and support the development of financial and other resources to assure the availability of medical and health resources, including emergency care to the residents and visitors of western Sierra County.

Since 2014...
We have been rebuilding the EMS Infrastructure of western Sierra County a brick at a time.  As of 2020, we have trained 17 Homemaker Health Aides, 20 Emergency Medical Responders and 25 Emergency Medical Technicians and 23 Advanced EMTs, who will provide emergency care to residents in Alleghany-Pike, Camptonville, Downieville, Sierra City, Calpine and Loyalton. One of our Advanced EMTs is currently in Paramedic School and will come back to our community late this Summer to allow for full-time, 24-hour Paramedic coverage to western Sierra County.

 Our first priority was to focus on ALS Services, since those are the most vital in the EMS chain of survival.  Our next objective was to sponsor a Western Sierra County Paramedic Project in which the Downieville Fire Protection District has hired a full-time paramedic.

We needed to develop the structure and funding for a sustainable long-term Paramedic Project that will focus on EMS Basic and ALS Services, Training of EMS Staff at Sierra City Fire Department, Downieville Fire Protection District and Alleghany Pike Community Services District.

EMS Funding Measures, Success in 2020!

A two-part strategy to finance vital Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in western Sierra County appeared on the November 3, 2020 ballot in the form of tax measures. Voters approved the tax measures that will establish sustainable funding for advanced EMS, Fire & Rescue Services.

 The current Downieville Fire Protection District advanced EMS budget is $100,000 and includes financial support for the paramedic, advanced medications, equipment, and supplies. Downieville ambulance is the local lifeline, delivering emergency care for both the Sierra City Fire District and the Downieville Fire Protection District.

Ballot Measures E, G & H offered a blended approach to fund Advanced EMS and Fire & Rescue Services by dividing the responsibility between property owners and visitors. This concept consists of an affordable property tax measure and a slight increase in the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). The TOT rate is paid by visitors that rent motel rooms, vacation houses, inns, and resorts.

Measures E, G & H all passed by the two-thirds majority and will be implemented on July 1st, 2021.

 Downieville Ambulance Urgent Care

 In January, 2020 SFMR supported the opening of Downieville Ambulance Urgent Care (DAUC) to provide urgent medical care to the community when the medical clinic was not available. Downieville Fire Protection District has provided a refurbished ambulance to be used as a Mobile Clinic. It is staffed by a Nurse Practitioner and responded to over 80 calls in 2020. DAUC has now contracted with the Sierra County Health Department to provide Rapid & PCR COVID-19 Testing as well as providing COVID-19 Vaccinations in western Sierra County.