Am­bu­lance ser­vice do­ing fundraiser

Aim­ing to re­place equip­ment that is worn out, ob­so­lete

The Compass - - SPORTS -

Mem­bers of the North Shore Cen­tral Am­bu­lance Ser­vice will be knock­ing on doors in 11 com­mu­ni­ties along the North Shore of Con­cep­tion Bay from Kingston to Job’s Cove on Satur­day, Oct. 9 sell­ing vegetable ham­pers.

The am­bu­lance ser­vice is rais­ing funds to help re­place some med­i­cal equip­ment that is get­ting worn out or has be­come ob­so­lete.

“ Most peo­ple are as­tounded by how much it costs to oper­ate an emer­gency ser­vice,” says Cathy Short, a para­medic with the ser­vice.

“ The best way to ex­plain it is to ask peo­ple to look at the pur­chase price of their car and com­pare it to buy­ing an am­bu­lance. A new am­bu­lance costs ap­prox­i­mately $ 130,000, not in­clud­ing the stretcher and other equip­ment. And govern­ment re­quires an am­bu­lance be re­placed af­ter 10 years, re­gard­less of how good a shape it’s in.”

“An­other way to look at it,” Short sug­gests, “ is to look at the re­pair bills for your own ve­hi­cle, and then just add a zero to that fig­ure, if that same re­pair were to be made on an am­bu­lance. In other words, a $ 125 re­pair to your car might run $ 1,250 to have done to an am­bu­lance.”

Elec­tronic equip­ment used by paramedics to as­sess a pa­tient ( heart mon­i­tors, pulse oxime­ters, de­fib­ril­la­tors, etc) is ex­pen­sive to pur­chase and main­tain. For ex­am­ple, seven years ago, the am­bu­lance ser­vice pur­chased a heart mon­i­tor for $ 11,000. That model of mon­i­tor is now ob­so­lete. The bat­ter­ies, which cost $ 400 each, have been con­stantly recharged af­ter ev­ery use for the past seven years. The ser­vice ex­pects it won’t be too much longer be­fore the bat­ter­ies won’t hold a charge, or the heart mon­i­tor mal­func­tions and they may not be able to find parts to have it re­paired.

Un­like equip­ment used in a hos­pi­tal, equip­ment used by paramedics wears out more quickly be­cause it is sub­jected to ex­tremes of tem­per­a­ture and weather — it doesn’t last as long when used on an am­bu­lance.

Ray Sel­lars, chair­man and a long-time mem­ber of the ser­vice, says he can re­call when the crew had to wash and clean equip­ment such as suc­tion col­lec­tion bot­tles af­ter each trip. “ Not any­more,” he says. “ Be­cause of the con­cern of trans­mit­ting dis­ease from one per­son to an­other, al­most every­thing used on a pa­tient these days is de­signed to be dis­pos­able. This also adds to the costs of pro­vid­ing care to pa­tients.”

An­other ex­am­ple he cited is if the vinyl cov­er­ing on a mat­tress or piece of equip­ment such as a blood pres­sure cuff is torn, it has to be re­placed be­cause the pa­tient’s bod­ily flu­ids could have got­ten in­side the foam, mak­ing it im­pos­si­ble to clean and dis­in­fect

The am­bu­lance ser­vice is a reg­is­tered char­ity that pro­vides emer­gency pre-hos­pi­tal med­i­cal care and am­bu­lance trans­porta­tion on a not-for-profit ba­sis to 11 com­mu­ni­ties on the North Shore. Its suc­cess is due, in large part, to pub­lic sup­port.

Am­bu­lance ser­vice mem­bers are ask­ing the pub­lic to sup­port the ser­vice fi­nan­cially by pur­chas­ing a vegetable ham­per on Oct. 9.

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