To the Editor:
Is the Maybell Ambulance Service in critical condition?
The article in the Dec. 30 Craig Daily Press is close -- but not quite. I would say we are in serious but stable condition. It is true we consistently have only one EMT in Maybell during the day Monday through Friday. This equates to approximately 35 percent of the time.
This is serious. We had four instances since August 2002 where we did not have sufficient personnel and had to ask for outside assistance. I wouldn't, however, say we are in danger of folding. There is no way for me to describe the determination and endless personal sacrifices the past and current volunteers make to assure this does not happen.
What is in danger is the way we do things now to assure we have volunteers. The dynamics of the volunteer has changed. We no longer have the stay-at-home moms. Our economy dictates that both partners work. Most of the jobs in our area are out of the area. No one's fault, that's just a fact of life.
The amount of time you have to commit to be a volunteer EMT is HUGE. Our volunteers give thousands of hours in on-call, run-time, training hours, fund-raising time and service hours. How to keep it from being prohibitive is a statewide problem.
Right now all training is provided in Maybell. Whether it's the first class you take of 157 required hours or continuing education, these opportunities are provided in Maybell at no cost to the volunteer.
The day-to-day operation duties are all overseen by one individual. What would a full-time person do? How about: Schedule coverage, oversee paying bills and patient billing, develop and maintain policies protocols and standing orders, budget writing, grant writing, prepare for inspections, schedule building and vehicle maintenance, develope lesson plans, produce handouts, quizzes and tests, maintain training hours; assist with state certification paperwork, attend EMS council and RETAC meetings, assist Dinosaur in its efforts to become a transport agency, on-going training to responders coming into the Moffat County AED program on the western end, and offering assistance when needed in providing continuing education to the ColoWyo EMTs.
Lots of vacation days, nights, and weekends are expended currently to assure these things happen right now.
The full-time person in Maybell will not be sitting around waiting for the pager to sound. Meetings and outside assistance and training will be scheduled to assure coverage. Can these things be provided somewhere else? You bet, and they were years ago when we all traveled to obtain our training, a problem that added to declining volunteerism.
The Maybell Ambulance Service also generates revenue. To date we have generated approximately $25,000 in billed revenue for our 39 runs in 2002. None of that money stays in Maybell. It is placed in the county's general fund or stays at The Memorial Hospital.
It's true, we are the ones who asked the commissioners to help us keep what we have. We feel it is important to our community and our county to go forward, not backward with EMS issues.
The current Maybell EMTs requested a full-time paid position rather than receive pay themselves. They truly are amazing, I am so proud to be a part of this organization.
President of Maybell Ambulance Service