Tri-County EMS faces shortage
Tri-County EMS (TCEMS) continues to take calls but is struggling to provide coverage around Karlstad during daytime hours.
The gap in coverage comes after multiple squad members left due to resignations, retirements, moving out of the area, or failing the test after training.
TCEMS board members Ben Kleinvachter and Ryan Baron visited the Karlstad City Council regular meeting on Tuesday, October 2, to update on the status of the emergency squad.
At least two people are needed to answer a call, one of which must be an EMT in order to transport a patient. If not enough responders are available to take a call in Karlstad, the page is sent out to the next closest squad available, whether that be Middle River, Hallock, or elsewhere.
TCEMS is interviewing candidates to fill the administrator position, which does not have to be EMT certified, but they prefer that the person is an EMT to help cover day calls.
Eight to ten people have expressed interest in taking the class scheduled for November, but new responders won’t be ready to take calls until the 22 weeks of training is complete.
Baron said the board is looking for an immediate fix on how to provide coverage until more volunteers have completed training.
For more, see this week’s North Star News!
Just an FYI. In July 2017 I was fired from Tri-County EMS and told since I was an “at will” employee they did not need to give me any reasons, and they walked me out. I gave my all to help out the EMS service, including volunteering an average of 108 hours of call time a week. I was crushed when they did this to me and my family was angry.
But, by January 2018 I was on my feet again and have offered to cover call and have been ignored by Tri-County EMS Board. My daughter and I who are both EMTs and both live in the town of Karlstad have repeatedly offered and asked to help cover call for the Karlstad Squad. We have had remaining EMTs of the Tri-County EMS ask both of us to come back. But we have not received a go ahead from the Tri-County EMS board.
Being short on EMTs is not a new thing to any EMS operation particularly when the EMS is a volunteer service. I do not have an answer to this dilemma of being short staffed on volunteer ambulances. But I have made an efforts to try help.