Town offers high level of care
In the article titled “Towns reach compromise on oversight” in the Aug. 21 edition of The Times Argus, Calais Select Board member John Brabant was quoted as saying, “Barre Town (EMS) got too big for their britches.” The article reports he made comments describing Calais’ previous provider, “Barre Town, as an example of an ambulance service growing too big and not being able to do its job properly as a result.”
When the Calais and East Montpelier Select Boards decided to back East Montpelier Fire Department’s plan to start an ambulance service, no one claimed BTEMS was not doing its job properly. Financial reasons were given for starting the EMFD ambulance service.
Barre Town EMS employs 12 dedicated, well trained full-timers. Twenty-four hours per day, year-round there are two two-person teams on duty. Each team includes one paramedic. Two auxiliary crews split 40 hours, adding a third crew on the busy weekdays. Other part-time staff, including paramedics, back up the full-time and auxiliary crews. Five ambulances equipped for the high level of care provided by the paramedics are available for the multiple crews.
With its resources BTEMS answers an average of 3,200 calls per year, of which typically 250 are mutual aid calls (calls for service in another ambulance service’s territory). These mutual aid calls cover all of Washington County and parts of Orange County. On the other hand, BTEMS requests mutual aid only about 20 times per year, usually due to a car accident involving multiple patients. BTEMS also provides paramedic intercept services to 18 towns outside of its five-town service area.
Barre Town EMS is capable of and does fulfill its obligation to the residents, visitors and health care facilities in its service territory. Moreover, BTEMS benefits other ambulance services and their patients by providing a higher level of care at critical times.
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