Friday, August 01, 2014

Rural Kansas county struggles to keep ambulance services going; volunteers are in short supply

In rural Kansas, where some residents live long distances from hospitals, emergency medical services are staffed by volunteers. But just as rural fire departments are having trouble attracting and keeping volunteers, some EMS units in Sumner County (Wikipedia map), towns are struggling to find volunteers willing and able to take shifts, leaving a gaping hole in an essential service, James Jordan reports for The Wellington Daily News.

One community struggling to staff ambulances is Conway Springs, which has an EMS territory of 247 square miles, Jordan writes. With two full-time paramedics and a handful of volunteers, they have had trouble meeting the state law that requires ambulances to be on the road within five minutes of a call. Parademic Dawn Cornejo told Jordan, “We are in danger of losing our EMS license due to a lack of volunteers and staffing."

Another concern is that younger people have shown little interest in being volunteers, Jordan writes. More than half of the volunteers in Conway Springs are over 50 and one is 68. "Another problem he has is servicing rural areas of the county. The county gives money to each city to pay for these services, but Wellington and Mulvane get 70 percent or more of that amount." Conway Springs, though, will pay for training for someone who signs a contract to work in the city for a specified amount of time. (Read more)

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