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Friday, August 13, 2010

Potter County Fire News--EMS System Is Broken

Is your community keeping you safe?
Tuesday, 10 August 2010 19:15
Potter County Fire News

The issue outlined in the following article is far from being isolated to a particular area of the Commonwealth.

In fact, quite the contrary.

There are many areas in the Potter/Tioga County area that have this issue as well. You don't have to listen to a scanner for very long before you'll hear an incident being dispatched that can take 20 minutes, 30 minutes or more to get an ambulance on the road.

In the Potter/Tioga County area if the initially dispatched department has not responded withing 10 minutes of the first dispatch the call is "rolled over" to the next due department. If that department can not get a crew it again rolls over to another area department. But because of the way the system is currently set up in this area in many cases mutual-aid companies will not respond with an ambulance in these cases.

The EMS system in the Potter/Tioga county area is BROKEN and has been for some time.

While a large part of the issue is the lack of volunteers that isn't the only reason for the system being broken. There are factors internal to the local EMS system that are also contributing to this issue. And in some cases the causes are within the individual EMS agencies as the result of personality issues within local emergency service organizations.

The system as it stands is broken....... but the big question is..... What is it going to take in order for the people and agencies involved to admit it and work to fix it?


Read more at Potter County Fire News.....

9 comments :

Anonymous said...

Some thoughts that can help this situation throughout the counties is the way the Dispatches are handled by the 911 centers.

1) Stop babysitting these departments, so many times I hear Tioga use the following phrase,(you are at your 10 minute mark are you able to respond?) The "turnover" time is nothing new, STOP asking and just dispatch the next due.

2) Change the dispatch time intervals, currently it is set at 6 minutes for the 2nd dispatch and then at 10 minutes the next due department is dispatched. These times need to be changed to 4 minutes and 7 minutes. In most cases we are talking about someones life!!! Set the ego's aside!!!

3) Institute a new policy that states if ANY station turns over an EMS call at any point the are placed on A.A.D.=Automatic Assisted Dispatch, which means for the next 8 hours that station and the next due station are dispatched initially for any call in that stations coverage area. Once that 8 hr time frame is over OR that station call the 911 center and states that they have the coverage to handle their call the AAD can be lifted.

Another area that would help is changing they way a call is dispatched based off the EMD code. EMD is the tool that the dispatchers are trained to use when you call 911 for an ambulance. It takes alot of training to become certified and yet as of right now the only difference that it makes in the handling of a call is weather or not a Paramedic is dispatched.

Any "ECHO" level response should have Multiaple Departments on the initial dispatch along with "QRS' units. ECHO level is of the HIGHEST PRIORITY!!! This is when time is of the most essence.

Of course this is just a brief explanation of these and there are more details to them but they are not impossible to implement and work!!!

My thoughts are not meant to "call out" any one particular department as this is an issue all over the state, let alone here in out area. This is just one area that can be looked at to help improve this system.

Anonymous said...

Outrageous... if there is anyone out there that needs emergency assistance it is the whole blasted system. FIX IT !
Emergencies are just that, emergencies and no one should have to wait 10, 20, 30 minutes for help. Stop the bull, and fix it.

Anonymous said...

to poster 12:49: Are you a volunteer? If not, stop by your local fire company and pick up an application. I am sure they'd be happy to have the extra help!

Anonymous said...

People need to stop and realize that these depts are staffed by volunteers, and as such they are not always available to respond. If it takes a dept a little longer to respond, well theres not much you're going to do about it is there. I suggest if you have that much of a problem with it than you can volunteer or pay a ton more in taxes to staff them.

Anonymous said...

@6:14OM; I AM a volunteer and have been for 27 years! Believe me the system is broken in a number of ways and in many cases it is those very volunteers that you mention that are the reason that it is broken. There are solutions to many of the issues but the memberships of many of these departments refuse to take the necessary steps to resolve those issues. Then when you add into that some of the issues based in the 9-1-1 center it just compounds the issue. Just because a person volunteers for a fire/EMS department and doesn't get paid is no excuse for not being professional and not doing what is best for the community that they are there to serve. It seems that some are more interested in running social halls and community centers than doing the job that they are there to do.

Anonymous said...

Poster 8:10.
I am also a volunteer, and obviously the institution your a member in is no mine because i am completely unaware of some personnel issue's. If this article was wrote about a certain dept than it should say so. I know of a ton of differant depts that dont have any personnel issues. Sure in all depts there will be individuals that butt heads but a dont see anything in my own dept that is more serious than that. "Just because a person volunteers for a fire/EMS department and doesn't get paid is no excuse for not being professional and not doing what is best for the community that they are there to serve". I also have now idea what that statement means. If it means that because we volunteer for this that we should be available every moment than you have no idea what volunteer means. Maybe my priorities are skewed i believe your family comes first than your job and lastly the fire/amb service.

Anonymous said...

@11:27; I believe that if you go to PCFireNews and read the entire article posted there you will see that a particular department was named, Mountain Top Community Ambulance Association in Luzurne County. What is posted here on Solomon's is merely an editorial opinion of the article in comparison to the Potter/Tioga County area. As for the personnel issues, not every department has them to the degree that it affects service. But there are a lot of cases (in this county) where personalities get in the way of what may be best for the community.

Anonymous said...

Poster 11:27,
Noticed you didn't sign your name or outfit either. How come?
And poster 9:25, you are so right. Personalities DO get in the way of what is best for the community.
And as to the comment "why don't you volunteer?" People don't volunteer any more because there are "Too many chiefs and not enough Indians" , as the saying goes. Some people let the job and position go to their heads and think they are more important than the rest of the crew. Know what I mean? Sure you do. It's too bad people can't just get back to the basics of what a voluntary service is all about. It's about helping out your neighbors and doing what is right in the line of duty and remembering that lives are on the line out there. Quit your petty bickering and bitching and get on with the job at hand. The life you save just may be one of your own family.

Anonymous said...

Yes the system is broken, but lets backup to the root of the problem.
TIME We spend to much time trying to raise cash to keep the companies operating. The burden of fundraising needs to have some of the pressure taken off. Next the younger people need to stop finding excuses for not joining and knuckle down and support the communities that they have grown up in. Pay it forward. The same goes for the middle age group. You don;t have to run calls to be a help, you can do fund raising or, help with record keeping. there is a job ofor everyone.