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Re: “Double EMS

I've heard this story time and time again. Wake up Ada County, civilian paramedic are not the industry standard. In fact it’s a waste of tax payer money and here’s why!
It seems to me the most logical approach in administering paramedic services to a community is through its fire department. Firefighters (First Responders) are trained to work in hazardous environments, wear protective clothing and most importantly, the first to establish contact with a victim or patient. Ada Co. paramedics are not trained for hazardous environments, do not have adequate protective clothing, and in many cases Ada Co. Paramedic do not have the equipment to deliver medical intervention in a hazardous environment. So many times I’ve witnessed Ada Co paramedics under dressed at a fire incident or a traffic collision, when they should be wearing protective clothing. What I find concerning is, firefighters working these incidents are all dressed in their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), utilizing tools and equipment while dealing with the patient or victim first hand. The question is; where are the Ada Co. Paramedics? The Answer; more times than not, Ada Co. paramedics are usually standing with a white shirt on, in the thick of things, just waiting for the firefighters to bring them the patient so they can start intervention or, they’re working in a hazardous environment without wearing any PPE. So I ask myself; “why is it that the Firefighters wear all of their protective clothing and paramedics do not”? The answer is simple, COMPLACENCEY, a LACK OF TRAINING, or just simply thinking that they are impervious to injury.
To prove my point, the next time you drive by a Traffic Collision look around, you can always pick out the Firefighters because there wearing protective clothing and a helmet, because they know of the hazards and risks involved in mitigating these types of incidents. At the same time take note of the individuals working the incident wearing a white shirt and no helmet. These are Ada co. paramedics. The reason they are not wearing the same protective equipment is because they are not trained to do so, nor are they issued the same protective clothing that Firefighters wear. If this type of incident were to take a turn for the worst, the worst being an air bag deployment or a flash fire due to a fuel leak, Ada Co. paramedic would instantly become a negative part of the incident by changing their role from rescuer to victim. Now tell me, who going to take care of the injured when the Ada Co. Paramedics become victims? (Believe me, the above scenario happens every day in Ada County, just drive by and observe.)
Firefighters are trained to rescue victims or deal with patients in hazardous situation. It makes sense that if firefighters are at an incident first, and can get to a patient or a victim before Ada Co. Paramedics. For that one reason alone, I believe paramedic services should be at the hands of our fire departments. Why should the Fire department hand over patient care to another organization? This only to delays patient treatment and transportation, let alone important patient information that can get lost during the transfer to another party. (The aforementioned truly does jeopardize patient care, which is one of the things you’re taught in EMS training never to do.)
If money is a concern, why does Ada County want to spend more money in wages and services for two different organizations? It seems to me that it would be more economical to have a Fire Department pay a firefighter his/hers wages and benefits which would include a stipend (Compensation in wages) for being a Certified Paramedic instead of paying full wages and costly benefits to a Civilian Paramedic.
Example; Firefighter Paramedic monthly stipend would be around $500.00 per month. Ada Co. Civilian Paramedic wages would be $4300.00 per month. Savings to Ada Co./Taxpayers would be $3800.00 per month in wages per paramedic or $45,600.00 per year per paramedic. A Firefighter Paramedic stipend per year would be $6,000.00, a savings of $39,600.00 a year for every one Firefighter Paramedic. Now if you take into consideration that Boise Fire Department has 18 Firefighter Paramedic to replace Ada Co. Paramedics, the savings in yearly wages alone would be $712,800.00. Now this is just the savings in wages. If you were to subtract Equipment and Fuel, along with employee benefits that Ada Co Paramedic receive, the annual savings to Ada Counties taxpayers would be astronomical. I wonder how many of the county programs or jobs that were scratched over the past year due to tough economical times could have been salvaged with $712,800.00?
Next I would like to point out the cost of equipment, equipment maintenance, Paramedic housing as well as administrators, billing and office cost. It makes sense to me that Fire stations are already strategically place throughout the city, as well as an infrastructure that is already in place and ready to handle the admintrative needs of a firefighter paramedic program. What the sense in duplicating any of this. Again, it cost us taxpayer millions of dollars annually. (Which could be, millions of dollars saved by integrating paramedics into the fire service)
I believe that Idaho, as well as Ada County, has an obligation to its citizens to spend the taxpayer’s money judiciously. It makes no sense to have Civilian Paramedics when you can provide better services, at a cheaper cost to the taxpayers by incorporating Paramedic into the Fire Service. Make the change Ada County! Some change is good, it means you’re progressing, and not stagnating. Firefighter Paramedics programs work, it makes sense, it saves taxpayers money, and more importantly in today’s world of financial hardships, Ada County needs to take advantage of this opportunity. Ada County has an obligation to the taxpayers to save money, and to provide better services. Wake up Ada County, and anyone else, who opposes this opportunity. Civilian Paramedic are not the answer to saving money or better service. If it was a better way of doing business, a majority of municipality across the United States would be disbanding paramedics from the Fire service, instead of incorporating them.

Posted by taxpayer on 05/22/2009 at 1:44 PM

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