Ambulance service gets a boost Group allocates $69,000 to Manchester, Lineboro

July 17, 1996|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County Firemen's Association, in an effort to improve ambulance service in north Carroll, has allocated $69,000 to pay for emergency medical service positions at the Manchester and Lineboro volunteer fire departments.

The money makes it possible for Manchester to continue to provide weekday ambulance coverage and will allow Lineboro to ensure that such coverage is available in its service area.

Over the past five years, most of Carroll's 14 volunteer fire companies have found it necessary to hire emergency medical service workers to provide ambulance service during daytime hours, when volunteers frequently aren't available.

"It seems like more companies have had trouble getting out during the daytime hours," said Gene C. Curfman, president of the Carroll Firemen's Association, which divides its $3.3 million budget among the county's 14 fire companies.

All volunteer fire departments except Harney and New Windsor have paid medic positions, Curfman said. The association allocates funding for paid emergency medical positions based on a fire department's emergency response times. A company is eligible for paid positions if 15 percent or more of its ambulance calls are unsatisfactory.

A call for a medic unit is classified as late if the unit fails to leave the fire station within three minutes, and an ambulance call is designated as "no response" if the unit fails to leave the station.

The association has awarded $25,000 to the Lineboro company to pay for one advanced life support position to provide coverage during the weekdays.

John L. Krebs, chief of the Lineboro Volunteer Fire Department, said the company has requested paid emergency medical service for the past two years but hasn't met the emergency response time criteria.

Krebs said the late and no-response rate of 14 percent was misleading, however, because it didn't include calls from Pennsylvania.

"It's been a real problem here for the last two years," Krebs said.

The situation worsened when two of the medic volunteers recently accepted full-time positions with the Howard County Fire Department.

As a result, they are no longer available to volunteer with Lineboro during the week, Krebs said.

It used to be that most volunteer fire company members worked for local employers who were willing to let volunteers answer ambulance calls, Krebs said. Now, however, most volunteers don't work in the area and are unable to leave their jobs to cover emergency calls.

Pub Date: 7/17/96

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