By A.J. Etherington
The Courier 

Valley County Down an Ambulance

Improvised Response Required During Multiple Calls


Valley County law enforcement and emergency services officials spoke to the Courier regarding complaints about ambulance services over the past weekend. On Feb. 26, a call was placed to 911 reporting an elderly lady had fallen at the Albertsons in Glasgow. The caller was informed at 4:58 p.m. that the only operating ambulance was on a separate call and would arrive as early as possible.

As the patient’s condition worsened, two EMTs were dispatched in their private vehicle to begin care. Within seven minutes, EMT and Glasgow Police had responded and had started CPR. Within ten minutes of their arrival the patient was in the ambulance and en route to the hospital, according to dispatcher notes provided to the Courier.

According to Mark Becmer, the director of emergency medical services at Frances Mahon Deaconess Hospital, himself and another EMT exited the ambulance at the hospital during the previous call, and took a fully stocked private vehicle to the scene to provide care. “The other EMT had been doing stand-by at the basketball games the last few days, so he had an entire stock with which to respond,” said Becmer. He also stated they had arrived and the ambulance had arrived within five minutes. In the end, the patient was at the hospital within 23 minutes of the initial 911 call.

Becmer clarified that the reason for the shortage of ambulances is due to an update in equipment. He told the Courier that the second ambulance went down last week in order to have new state-of-the-art equipment installed. Due to a schedule mishap with the company, however, training on the new equipment could not occur until March 1. During that time the second ambulance was not in service, but will be back after the training event on March 1.


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