There’s a lot of misunderstanding about my plan for improving the rescue squad response in the county. I strongly feel that a county-run, paid service with full-time employees staffing the ambulance in the current situation would be inefficient and very costly.
I propose that we improve the current system by paying the volunteers to run the calls.
If you own the ambulance (new ones cost $180,000), it costs $65 per hour to have two guys sit in it and answer calls. Sixty-five multiplied by 24 multiplied by 365 equals $569,400. That is TWO guys in ONE ambulance to handle calls over this spread-out county.
We already have six volunteer squads operating out of strategically placed crew halls. Thanks to grants, fundraising, and county money, these squads are really well-equipped. The county owns none of these buildings and none of the equipment.
An ALS provider would get $50 per call. A BLS provider would get $40 per call. The driver would get $20 per call, per patient. That means the County would pay $110 per patient, per call. One hundred ten multiplied by 2,500 equals $275,000—and what we’re doing is supporting and strengthening the existing volunteer system.
Add $100,000 to pay for all training, and you’re still cheaper than just two guys in an ambulance. The squads are allowed to keep all soft billing.
This will work, but we have to treat our volunteers well. You don’t order volunteers. You ask them. The only thing any County employee should say to any volunteer is “Thank you” or “May I help you?”
In our under-populated and over-taxed county, we must depend on volunteer rescue squads. Please consider helping out.
Under my plan, we will train you and we will pay you for your efforts. Although, you will find that the most important rewards of running with the volunteer rescue squad are not monetary.
Mayo River District Supervisor