EMS coun­cil seeks fund­ing to add EMTs, am­bu­lance driv­ers

Kent County News - - NEWS - By PETER HECK pheck@thekent­coun­tynews.com

CH­ESTER­TOWN — The Kent County Emer­gency Med­i­cal Ser­vices Coun­cil has re­quested county fund­ing for three new emer­gency med­i­cal tech­ni­cians and am­bu­lance driv­ers and to pro­vide an ad­di­tional 24/ 7 para­medic cov­er­age for the county.

The re­quest was de­liv­ered to the Kent County Com­mis­sion­ers Tues­day night by EMS Coun­cil mem­bers Bob Cole­man, An­drea Ed­wards, Adam Brown, Ethel Duhamell and Al­lan Schauber. A large group of EMS per­son­nel filled the meet­ing room in sup­port of the re­quest.

Cole­man said both items in the re­quest were iden­ti­fied in the 2004 anal­y­sis of the county’s EMS strengths, weak­nesses, op­por­tu­ni­ties and threats, and re­stated in the 2014- 2016 SWOT anal­y­sis. He said the EMT driv­ers would be best placed in Bet­ter­ton, Galena and Rock Hall, to al­low quick cov­er­age of emer­gen­cies in those ar­eas of the county. In an open let­ter to the com­mis­sion­ers, he said the ad­di­tional per­son­nel would al­low an am­bu­lance from those lo­ca­tions to be on the road within eight min­utes of a call.

Cov­er­age by vol­un­teer am­bu­lance driv­ers is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly dif­fi­cult to pro­vide, Cole­man said. The ag­ing of the county’s pop­u­la­tion both in­creases the num­ber of calls and re­duces the pool of po­ten­tial vol­un­teers. He said changes in the Ch­ester­town hos­pi­tal some­times re­quire tak­ing a pa­tient to Eas­ton, An­napo­lis or other hos­pi­tals, leav­ing the county short of trained EMS per­son­nel for sev­eral hours.

Cole­man said the size of Kent County makes it dif­fi­cult to cover with two paramedics, es­pe­cially in in­ci­dents like a mo­tor ve­hi­cle call that usu­ally re­quires two on the scene. If a mo­tor ve­hi­cle call is in a re­mote part of the county, Ch­ester­town, which is the busiest part of the county, could be left with­out a para­medic for an ex­tended pe­riod if only two are avail­able.

Brown said the level of train­ing for vol­un­teer EMS work­ers is de­mand­ing. Only 25 per­cent of those who en­list in train­ing are able to com­plete it, he said.

Ed­wards said the equip­ment at sev­eral fire­houses in the county also needs up­grad­ing. She said Rock Hall is still us­ing one 20- yearold piece of equip­ment. She said the de­mand for cov­er­age at com­mu­nity events like triathlons or the Tea Party Fes­ti­val puts a fur­ther strain on the re­sources of emer­gency ser­vices.

Duhamell said the vol­un­teer pool is stretched very thin, es­pe­cially in Rock Hall and Galena, which are at the far ends of the county. She said Galena of­ten has only one or two vol­un­teers avail­able to re­spond. “I don’t think peo­ple re­al­ize the phys­i­cal toll it takes,” she said.

Schauber said that for a per­son in pain who is wait­ing for med­i­cal help, 20 or 30 min­utes can seem like an eter­nity.

Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Pick­rum said that Kent is a ru­ral county with lim­ited re­sources. He said the com­mis­sion­ers would put the re­quests at the top of their list for fund­ing.

“You’ve made a strong case, and we’re lis­ten­ing,” said Com­mis­sioner Ron Fithian.

Also at the meet­ing, Emer­gency Ser­vices work­ers Krista Wil­liams, Bran­don Dixon and Lo­gan Quinn were rec­og­nized by the com­mis­sion­ers for their work dur­ing a shoot­ing in­ci­dent in Ch­ester Har­bor Dec. 29, in which a Queen Anne’s County sher­iff’s deputy was shot. The cer­tifi­cates stated the com­mis­sion­ers’ grat­i­tude for the work­ers “stead­fast ser­vice and ex­pe­di­tious ef­forts” dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

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