Ambulance limps along with 1 EMT
With ambulances down several full-time employees because of resignations, Peabody ambulance was not available to go to two calls to Peabody Health and Rehab, one Friday and the other Saturday. Nor was it available to respond to a truck wreck Saturday.
In all three cases, Hillsboro ambulance responded, causing delays before responders arrived.
County commissioner Randy Dallke, who represents the Peabody area, said Peabody ambulance, which is staffed by part-timers, is down to one person who can’t respond after 4 p.m. and another who is only a first responder, not an emergency medical technician. First responders are limited in what services they can provide.
A third Peabody part-timer was injured and needed to take time off from both job and ambulance duties, Dallke said.
“That took a bite out of who’s available,” Dallke said.
Dallke said county residents should stop by and thank ambulance attendants who have served the county a long time.
“Age is approaching on all of our crews,” he said. “Tampa crews need to go on a lot of calls and there are only about four of them.”
The problem is magnified by state laws that dictate credentials for who can do which services, he said.
State law requires two people to transport a patient.
“The law says you have to have a qualified person even to get on there to drive,” Dallke said. “They have to have a piece of paper. We have to have the proper person with the proper papers to do anything anymore. That’s just the way it is.”
Dallke said some of the six ambulance service employees who earlier submitted resignations had rescinded them.
“Whether it’s due to the pay increase, I don’t know,” he said. “I’d like to see all of them stay with our service.”
Ambulance service improved in recent years after the county changed from an all-part-time service to having full-time staff, but some stations remain with part-timers only.
“Since we went to a paid department, those people have proven that they’re out there to do a good job,” Dallke said. “Personally, I’m proud of our ambulance department. There’s always a few hitches and glitches no matter what. These people are doing the as well as they can.”