July 17, 2013 | Volume 100/Number 28

Former EMT Speaks Of Hostile Working Conditions

Dear Editor:

The availability of a good ambulance service to our community has been primarily due to the dedication of EMTs. Some EMTs are compensated for their work, but Glasgow and the surrounding areas are a volunteer service and are really on call 24/7. Yes, they operate per schedule and the Glasgow personnel gets some pay, but the size of your service dictates in part, just how much time you are “on call.” Many of those that have needed emergency service are aware that EMS personnel respond even though they are not on call.

As a former EMT, I know that the EMTs of this area work under conditions that would be termed a “hostile work-place” anyplace else. The administration and board have been made aware of the situation not just once, but many times over the past years, with no changes made. I would guess that the EMT roster has dropped from the early 20-30 persons to less than eight. To me this indicates more than anything the dissatisfaction within.

I found that association with Emergency Services gets into your blood, so to speak, and it is not a volunteer service that you want to leave. I let my EMT certification lapse some years ago, in part because of the working conditions, and while I will always retain a good deal of my training, I regret that I felt the need to leave a field that I so enjoyed.

I understand completely why Greg and Connie, who have been so dedicated for 20-some years, and Debbie and Theresa, who are just as dedicated, have struggled with their decision and I want you to know you have my support as well as that of many former ambulance crew members. The community needs dedicated volunteers for all emergency services, not just EMS, but this is our topic for today. I sincerely hope the FMDH administration and board can find a good solution.

Remember when the ambulance was owned and operated by individuals. I am not in any way saying that those people were not dedicated and good at their job, but I like the idea of my ambulance service working with the hospital and it just seems to be the place for it to be.

Gwen Cornwell

Glasgow

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