Yakima Fire Chief Dave Wilson says the department's new tiered dispatch policy on medical calls is a big success.

Dispatchers now determine whether a call can be handled by an ambulance instead of sending a fire truck. Wilson says those dispatchers can either send a private ambulance, fire trucks or send the call to a nurse hotline especially if it's someone calling 9-1-1 for a bad cold or a child's infection. Wilson says the nurse “then determines if the person needs immediate medical care or the nurse directs them to a local doctor of medical center.”

Wilson says the new policy has been in place for more than two months and so far it's working.

Wilson says running trucks to every bloody nose or sore foot wears out the trucks. He says trucks and firefighters are being saved for critical emergencies. And he says the nurse hotline also helps people who are looking to get their medical questions answered.

Wilson says about says three-quarters of the department's emergency calls require only paramedics.