You are here

Ada EMS chief's message to the community

Addressing negative and unjust information

Letter to the Editor -
To the residents of Ada and Liberty Township

By Thomas Miller
Chief, Ada/Liberty EMS

I would like to share some information to dispel the negative and unjust information that seems to be floating around Facebook and the community.

Ada/Liberty EMS is a volunteer emergency medical crew consisting of 14 skilled medical providers of various levels. We are the second busiest EMS department in Hardin County next to BKP on 911 calls with about 600 runs a year, or about 50 calls a month. Our 14 members cover the majority of these runs all hours of the day and night.

A very small percentage of these runs go to mutual aid for various reason, such as we do not have the staffing at that time, maybe because we are already on another run or maybe we are providing mutual aid to another area that could not cover their calls for the same reasons.

All of the surroundings EMS agencies work very well together and help one another. No one has funding to staff a full-time department, except Kenton. Even if we did, there would still be mutual aid calls to help cover runs as our crew may already be on a call with someone else in need.

I have seen Facebook posts stating people have seen Alger EMS heading into town to cover another call, but what the Facebook writers don’t know is that at times when we are heading out of town we may be going to Alger or McGuffey or Dunkirk to cover a call for them. We all help each other

Ada/Liberty EMS call volume is as much as 2 to 3 of these other departments’ combined calls yet we cover the majority of them with a highly-dedicated crew of just 14 members who have have full-time jobs and families and put countless hours in training to keep their skill levels up.

EMS today is very demanding. I have been doing this for more than 20 years. More and more is being required of us in the pre-hospital setting. We have became a rolling emergency room. The treatment now being done in the field was unheard of just ten years ago. Our members must put an extraordinary amount of time in training to make sure they are ready to handle situations as they arise. They will be the first to say many situations are very unpleasant to see. Yet they go and care for these patients, trying to provide them and give them the best chance to have a positive outcome.

Very rarely do members of the emergency crew ever hear anything positive. But they go back time and time again.  I am very proud of our members’ dedication and what they do. It is disheartening to all of us when a call goes out and it has to covered by another area EMT. Some of us have experienced the same thing with our own family members, as well.

We know that it is just the nature of EMS that we receive mutual aid and we give mutual aid. To have a paid full-time EMS would not guarantee that a squad would always be there. It would help but the crew could still be out on another call. To staff this we would probably be looking at a 3-mill tax levy at a minimum.

I don’t believe a large EMS levy would receive a warm welcome when added to all of the current levies, such as school, library, park, fire, village, township, etc. An EMS levy would not guarantee a crew would be there all the time since the crew might be out helping someone else. It is not unusual for the local EMS to receive two or three calls within 20 minutes. No department can handle this without mutual aid.

Now let's talk about funding – we have a very small tax levy. Also, we receive money from billing for our runs. That is what funds us. I saw a statement made the other day online that said: “let ONU pay for a full-time department.” I want to make it very clear that ONU has worked with us very well and has been a tremendous help to our department in multiple ways, including monetary and equipment gifts and manpower. ONU does plenty to help our agency,

Want to be a member?
We would love to have you join us. Let me explain a little about the path to accomplish this.

First, we run a record check and a drug screen on every applicant. Then,  we have to get you enrolled in a 6-month EMT class, which is usually held at Apollo Career Center. The classes meet about twice a week. After a lot of studying, and passing a final exam, you need to pass the National Registry exam, which is both a written and hands-on test.

Once all this is done, you now you start running with the EMS crew for additional training to prepare you to handle calls. This may require from 20 to 40 runs before you achieve the skill level to care for someone on your own in the back of the vehicle. The worst thing to do for a new provider and the patient is to put someone in a bad situation before they are ready.

To run with us you must, at a minimum, signup for 40 hours a month. You pick your time, any less time and you won't stay fluent on your skills. Most of our members do double or triple that amount of time, and I am grateful they do because it’s not required.

Your training will never stop in this field it will be ongoing and this will require more of your time. Now, this is not to discourage you from becoming one of us. It merely shows that you must be a very dedicated individual and want to serve the public. Don’t look for a lot of money as a reward. You will receive self-satisfaction, and for us that's all it takes.

So I will end with this. It is very disheartening to hear some of the negative comments that have been said about a team that gives up so much for this community. I am very proud of this team and know their capabilities and we are blessed to have them here.

I would like to take this time to thank our Ambulance Board for being supportive of our department.