EMS faced many challenges during 2014

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By Randy See,

Director, Switzerland County EMS

Switzerland County EMS, Inc. has faced some challenges this year.

Like many other entities Switzerland County EMS took a substantial cut in casino revenues. We had to do some lay-offs and reduce some employee benefits. However, we remain dedicated to the people of Switzerland County that we are privileged to serve.

We have many success stories with our outstanding patient care. All of our EMTs go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to patient care. Our EMTs are by far the best in the business with a blend of training and experience that is second to none.

Many of our EMTs have received awards for their outstanding service. Our staff constantly train to keep their skills sharp. We try to stay on the cutting edge with new techniques and equipment.

One of our proudest accomplishments is the successful utilization of air medical helicopters. Utilizing air medical helicopters is a perfect fit for Switzerland County.

We are so far away from cardiac, stroke, trauma, and advanced pediatric facilities it only makes sense to utilize helicopters to get patients to the appropriate facility quickly. Many people return to normal lifestyles after suffering catastrophic events.

Some would not survive without air lifting them. Our people are highly trained to recognize the need for an air medical helicopter.

The downside to utilizing helicopter is the expense. A normal flight costs around $30,000. Some insurances will not completely cover helicopter expenses. There is a helicopter insurance available called Life Shield Alliance and its phone number is (855) 896-9064 or the website is www.Lifeshieldalliance.com.

The patients we put on helicopters would be flown by local hospitals anyway, so we are actually saving the patient money by eliminating the middleman.

We also like to be proactive in our community. We teach a lot of safety classes to kids and we try to be present for community events. Due to our budget cuts we are now charging for CPR classes, dedicated standbys at special events, and ambulance calls that result in no transport to the hospital.

Our response times have also increased due to budget cuts.

We are down to only one crew on duty at a time. That means if we have simultaneous ambulance calls someone may have to wait an hour or more until the first call is completed. Our simultaneous ambulance calls are frequent.

We do have volunteers and utilized off duty personnel at times when they are available. Our average response times have doubled.

Before the budget cuts, the average response time was 12 minutes and now it is 25 minutes.

Switzerland County EMS is proud to serve the people of Switzerland County and will continue to serve in the future.

Our Board of Directors for 2015 are: Marylee Tolbert, President; Dennis Cole, Vice President; and Lewis Fritter, Sect/Treasurer. Pat Lanman is our chaplain.

A special thanks to all these folks as all their time is volunteered.

Thank you for your continued support. God bless and have a happy and safe 2015.