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Rural County EMS System--Scares me


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I visited the county my Mother lives in over the Thanksgiving weekend. I am considering moving back there so I made a few inquires about the EMS system, and was scared by what I heard. The EMS system is run by the county and all ambulances stage out of the hospital. This could result in a25-30 min or longer response time to some areas of the county. I was told there are volunteer first responders throughout the county who will POV to scene to be there until ambulance arrives.

I know an EMT is not much above a FR, and I am not sure if the county ambulances are all ALS or a mix of ALS/BLS, but at least there is more equipment on the ambulance. I am a volunteer EMT, but at least in my county when you call 911 you will get an ambulance with at least an EMT on it within a reasonable response time.

Has anyone ever known of a similar system? Just curious to see what your thoughts are.

Sarge

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Our full time department commonly has response times of 20-30 minutes. One of the benefits of living in the sticks is not having your neighbors on top of you, but the drawback of not having services close by should be understood as well.

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Look at the national standards of response time, there are more that have > 15-30 minute response times than one would ever suspect. It's not that too uncommon.

It would be impossible to staff and place units in areas that serve in counties with several hundred square miles. We too have a normal response time in some areas up to 30 - 40 minutes. That is the risks one decides to take when they choose to live in the rural areas. One cannot provide an EMS unit for a area that has an occasional call....

R/r 911

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I am just surprised none of the VFDs throughout the county have added EMS as a service. I guess the area I live in is not as backwards as a lot of us there think.

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Hey, I live in a rural county in Kentucky, approx. 450 sq. mile, and our EMS has one ALS unit on 24/48, and a BLS at a 2nd sta. 24/48, and at least one BLS unit during the day.

When I worked there, there were times I was the only paramedic in the whole county. Talk about extreme adrenalin let down when you drive Code-3 65-70 mph for 35 minutes to get to a patient with CHF, who's wife called the nurse in Louisville (where EMS is on every corner) who told her to call and wait for EMS. Then it took 5 minutes to convince her to let us take the pt to our local hospital for stabilization before we took him an hour and a half to Louiville.

On the same note, I drove C-3 from one side of Louisville to the other on the interstates and it took approx 30 minutes.

Everyone be safe.

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I am just surprised none of the VFDs throughout the county have added EMS as a service

While i dont understand you environment, id have to say i have a little bit of experience with that here.

An effort was made to build some form of first responder system into rural fire brigades here, and it failed dismally. Not from lack of interest or poor administration. but generally true rural people are involved, and they are really the proper stakeholders in volunteer fire. They are their own services, if they dont volunteer, they get nothing. Its far more realistic and easier for them to do their own first aid training (which as landholders and primary producers is tax deductable) than to embed the program into their fire brigades

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two of the services I worked for were what you described - hospital based. Routine response times 20-30 minutes

The town the ambulances are staffed in and the hospital is in constitutes 60% of the calls so the ambulances are in the place with the highest call volume.

You live in a rural area you understand that services you need will not be there immediately. It's no different for the fire department. Our rural fire department was run by the city fire department with response times similar to the ambulance

The sheriff's department also had tremendously long response time.

It was not out of the ordinary for our ambulance to come from the county center, the first responders to come from 10 miles away from the scene, law enforcement to come from one corner of the county to the call in the opposite corner

People who live in the rural areas understand response times and it was never an issue in our county.

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I guess it is only an issue if some needs ALS immediate and dies from the wait. I was surprised. I guess I did not pay attention when I lived there in my teen years.

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This is extremely common in rural American. In fact, I would bet that a very hefty percentage of Americans live 20 to 30 minutes from the nearest ambulance of any level. I spent most of my EMS career in rural county systems like that. One or two stations covering the entire county with one ambo each. Nothing but VFDs for first responders, except maybe in the county seat town. It was even worse in the pre-911 days when you had to talk for five minutes with the caller just to get directions to their house. Or barn. Or pasture. Or stock tank.

I agree that it is simply the price one pays for seclusion and serenity. If there was a fire station on every corner, and the high taxes and bureaucracy that go with them, there would be no point in moving to the country.

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I currently work VFD in a rural setting. Our Ambulance service is based from a hospital, with 2 on during the day (until midnight) and then one on from Midnight to 7AM. Keep in mind that when community members in our area say "First Responders" that they are just talking about those who "respond first"... our Dept. is made up of Nurses, EMT's, and MFR's. I would put most of our rural responders up against "Urban" EMT's any day... the reason? Because of the long wait times for our Ambulances, many times we are out there performing BLS skills that those who work in the City NEVER do.

There are pros and cons to both sides.... for me, I prefer the rural setting, because I feel like I am able to retain more skills, and I am helping people that I have known most of my life.

Jo

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