During their annual meeting at which families were present, members of the Bear Lake County Ambulance Service elected new officers. Outgoing president Jericca Phelps of Bennington was complimentary of the EMT corps who had participated during her year of leadership. She was pleased to welcome TJ Thomas, a Montpelier resident, as the incoming president, especially in light of his service as vice president during 2020-2021. Elected as vice president, Ed Izatt of Fish Haven became an officer for what he recalls as his third such assignment with the Bear Lake County Ambulance Service. Kathy Price continues as the organization’s billing clerk, performing an essential duty to work through insurance and claims processes, and Heather Jensen acts as secretary, both paid positions under the County Commissioners’ jurisdiction.
It was also announced that Steve Hill had been selected as EMT of the Year.
Over the 2020-2021 tenure of Phelps and Thomas, EMTs have been offered payment of $10/hour for time spent one-way when patients are transported to healthcare facilities outside the county. The change was the result of negotiations and investigation of surrounding communities’ pay scales by the County Commissioners and EMT leadership. Similarly, a meal is paid for EMTs while they are engaged in transfers made outside the county, a practice of many decades standing.
During a recent weekly period, fifteen runs were made to provide medical assistance for a variety of causes. Dispatched EMTs worked with patients on a number of illnesses, an accident, a death and eight patients were transported to Bear Lake Memorial Hospital for emergency care. In addition, a transfer from Bear Lake Memorial Hospital to another hospital was made and two “reverse” transfers were made which returned patients from another hospital to Bear Lake Memorial or another location in the county. In comparison to weekly periods during June through August, these fall days reflect a small reduction in medically-related emergencies in the area, but the Ambulance Service responded to an average of two calls per day even though the traditional large crowds have dispersed.
Incoming president Thomas and vice president Izatt mentioned the number of EMTs available to respond to emergencies during work day periods have dwindled significantly and the lack of trained personnel during that time has become critical. A new class to train community members as EMRs will begin in January. To give an introduction to the training and people involved, open houses are scheduled October 22, October 28, November 4 and November 11, all beginning at 7:20 p.m. at the Ambulance Garage which is located along the Cemetery Lane north of Montpelier. Those interested in learning about emergency medical service training as an EMR (a shorter course than necessary for an EMT or EMT-A certification) are invited and strongly encouraged to attend.
Kathy Price interacts with many of the Ambulance Service contacts after moments when they were sorely in need of help and, often, in painful situations with little patience to spare. Her later conversations are, she said, very positive and, in fact, “the best part of my day because people really appreciate the EMTs and the help they give.” Kathy added that she is willing to work with patients on payment plans and credit or debit cards can be used as well.
Contact the Ambulance Service by calling Sharon Hill at 208.847.4391 to discuss the classwork, ongoing training, testing and minimum hours required to become an EMR then maintain certification.