No emergency, but …

Ambulance department hopes class will train more EMTs for transfers

By Deb Hadachek Telescope editor

The Republic County Emergency Medical Service has enough emergency medical technicians to fill shifts.

But director Dave Holloway and assistant director Jeff Beikmann hope to train more qualifi ed staff to serve as backups and to help transfer patients to other facilities.

“We can keep going the way we are now, but not forever,” Holloway told Republic County Commissioners Monday. “We need to start rebuilding for the future.” Holloway, Narka, and Beikmann were appointed to lead the department last year.

An EMT class will be held this spring, taught in part by Beikmann, who is taking courses to become an EMT instructor. The class runs about 3 1/2 months, and meets twice a week and some Saturdays. A limited number of scholarships are available, Holloway said.

Holloway said he and Beikmann have identifi ed several potential local students who would be “excellent” additions to the EMT staff. In addition, other counties may send students to the class, Beikmann said.

Beefing up the roster will especially help the service meet its goal of being ready to transfer any patient from Republic County Hospital that needs treatment at a larger facility, Holloway said.

“Since September we’ve been able to take 37 of the 40 transfers, but that’s still not good enough,” he said. Services from adjoining counties are called if the Republic County EMS cannot make the transfer. Most patients are transferred to Salina; some to Wichita or Lincoln, Nebr.

Holloway said he believes the EMS department has a good relationship and good communication with the hospital staff.

Right now, Holloway and Beikmann are doing many of the transfers, Holloway said–even if that falls on their days off or when they’re supposed to attend state meetings.

Holloway said EMS has about a dozen EMTs still on the roster who attend the required monthly training meetings, but who have retired or do not work shifts. The service employs eight fulltime staff members, but two of those fulltime employees live an hour or more from Belleville.

“That keeps them from being able to help us on transfers,” he said, “unless we have several hours lead time.” Holloway said under new policies established for EMS, employees must live within 30 minute of the station.

“That’s purpose of this class, to get more of a pool,” he said. “We needed to rebuild fi ve years ago, but we are where we are.

“You might have 15 in class but at end, if can get two qualified to become employees, that’s good,” he said. “It takes a long time to build a service. It’s not for everybody.”

EMT Class – Belleville

Have you ever thought about becoming an EMT? Republic county EMS is considering holding an EMT class in Belleville. They can call the station at 527-7149 for questions. Ask for Jeff or Dave