COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE
ALS Ambulance Service – Rt. 29 North Corridor
Request the hiring of three Fire fighter/ALS personnel to staff a CARS ambulance during daytime hours.
Tucker, Foley, Eggleston
FOR LEGAL REVIEW: Yes
July 7, 2004
ACTION: X INFORMATION:
Fire Rescue staff has been working with the local county volunteer rescue squads to develop a system to provide the final in-field training for sixteen newly trained career advanced life support (ALS) personnel. The purpose of the training is to allow the ALS providers to independently practice their skills under the supervision of a certified ALS provider on an emergency EMS call. The process takes approximately 100 hours to complete per person.
Staff has worked out an agreement with Scottsville (SRS) and Western Albemarle Rescue Squads (WARS) to train career personnel, but due to the low call volume, the process will take an extended period of time. Staff has been working with the Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS) to reach an agreement to train Fire Rescue’s career staff. However, they are not able to accommodate this request. CARS has about 25+ volunteer ALS members that also need to be trained, but due to a loss in volunteer membership, they are not in a position to train their own providers or any outside providers. In addition, CARS is having difficultly covering County EMS calls due to high call volume and a recent reduction in volunteer participation.
In an attempt to solve the ALS training problem, Fire Rescue staff has worked with Chesterfield County to train the County’s career ALS providers. Chesterfield has agreed to accommodate one person for 10 hours per day, 5 days per week. Although the Chesterfield solution addresses the immediate problem, staff believes it is not a sound long term strategy.
Goal 3.1: Make the County a safe and healthy community in which citizens feel secure to live, work and play.
Goal 4.1: Provide effective, responsive and courteous service to our customers.
Because of the training difficulties that currently exist and its impact on service, staff has evaluated several alternatives to provide the final training needed for EMS providers to achieve their ALS certification. They include, (1) hiring three fire fighter/ALS personnel and staffing a CARS ambulance during day time hours and (2) continuing to send staff to Chesterfield County. A third alternative of only sending staff on a limited basis to WARS and SRS is also an option, but would clearly require considerable time.
Based on the enclosed analysis, staff believes hiring three additional staff is necessary to adequately address patient care and response goals. Without the in-field training necessary to achieve ALS certification, the County’s sixteen career staff and the twenty-five volunteers at CARS will be unable to administer drugs and provide the other high level patient care necessary at the scene of an emergency. Through this option, both career and volunteer ALS training needs will be better met in the shortest period of time. In addition, this option will improve response times in the 29 North Corridor, an area already targeted for improved service with the planned construction of the Northern Fire/Rescue station.
Obviously, there is a considerable fiscal impact to hiring staff at this time. The expected total cost of this alternative is $162,000 in ongoing personnel costs and $13,000 in one time start up costs. However, because these staff would have been hired for the planned northern station within approximately two years, this is viewed more as an accelerated process for hiring rather than an unexpected cost not previously planned for. Staff does expect a $25,000 saving in projected personnel cost in FY 04/05 due to the delay in providing ALS pay to the staff pursuing certification. If approved by the Board, a request for appropriation will be presented to the Board on a future agenda.
Staff recommends Board approval to hire three Fire fighter/ALS personnel to staff a CARS ambulance during the day time hours.
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