To The Editor:
Your headline in the Feb. 24 edition of the Craig Daily Press, "Maybell residents lobby to reinstate EMS position" is both inaccurate and misleading. There is not widespread support for this position in the Maybell area for a number of reasons. I will only list a few.
We were led to believe that creating this position would result in an EMT being available in Maybell during the day when other EMTs are not available due to jobs or other commitments. (Craig Daily Press 12/30/2002.) That has not been the case. The EMS coordinator is frequently gone during the day for various meetings, training at ColoWyo and at Dinosaur. Should the Maybell EMS coordinator position be used to train ColoWyo employees?
We are continually told that the Maybell Ambulance would no longer exist if the EMS coordinator position was not reinstated. I don't believe that for a minute. Maybell has a multitude of dedicated volunteers that have always stepped up to the plate when needed. I believe that will continue to happen. It is difficult to volunteer to do something when you have not been made aware of the need. I have heard numerous requests for volunteer EMTs but never for volunteers for administrative duties. Since that was brought up at the most recent meeting, at least two Maybell residents have volunteered to take over the administrative duties of the EMS coordinator position and at least one Maybell EMT will be re-certified to be available in the daytime. (Craig Daily Press 12/30/2002.)
We were told that Dinosaur EMTs needed training to get their ambulance service up and running on a par with the Maybell Ambulance service. (Craig Daily Press 12/30/2002.) After a year of training that still has not happened.
I realize the people in the Browns Park area are concerned about ambulance service in their area, and they should be. But keeping the EMS coordinator position will not do one thing to enhance their ambulance service. The money the current position is costing would be better spent to place another ambulance in Browns Park and train EMTs in that area to run it. They live there and should know the area far better than EMTs from Maybell. I would think that all of the above would result in a far faster response time.
The list of duties for the EMS coordinator position cannot possibly be construed as a full-time position. I doubt very seriously it could be justified as a quarter-time position. I know a lot of dedicated volunteers and not one of them expects their volunteer work to become a full-time paid position. They volunteer because they care, it is their community and it is the right thing to do. I thank them for their dedication.
It was suggested that the county start paying the volunteer EMTs per ambulance run as an incentive to recruit more EMTs. This has the potential of becoming a Pandora's box. If you accept payment you are no longer a volunteer. This opens up numerous liability issues that need to be addressed both for the county and the individual. What happens with volunteers in other areas that are not offered payment?
When the EMS coordinator position was created and filled, it reeked of political payback. Well it still smells. Several Maybell residents feels that we have had this position shoved down our throats. The original meeting that was held when the County Commissioners decided to create the position was held only with the EMTs. That would certainly provide slanted input. The community as a whole was not asked if the EMS coordinator position was necessary.The meetings that are held to discuss it are overrun with people who do not even live in the Maybell area and the County Commissioners seem to hear only what they want to hear and not how the Maybell residents really feel. It is time to eliminate the EMS coordinator position and use the savings to serve all of the county residents instead of