The St. George Volunteer Ambulance Association has been responding to emergencies since 1956. And throughout most of those years, the service has done so as a group of volunteers. But emergency medicine has become increasingly sophisticated, and many people in St. George have expressed the desire that a paramedic always be on duty. So now, the service has altered its model to include both volunteer basic EMTs and drivers along with paid paramedics.
This new incarnation provides residents not only the reassurance of knowing a paramedic is there if needed, but also it has allowed the service to expand its offerings. This summer, the service officially rolls out its “Community Paramedicine” program, one element of a broad-ranging Community Health initiative, which includes a host of educational activities aimed at different audiences. Monthly awareness campaigns (diabetes, heart health, etc.), CPR certification workshops, child seat safety demonstrations, and safe home inspections, among other activities, are being conducted.
Many kinds of home health care are also within the purview of the Community Health providers. For example, they are able to help patients with dressing changes when they come home after surgery, and do vital sign monitoring for individuals with chronic conditions.
Candy Davis, one of the two full-time paramedics here in St. George, is in charge of the new Community Health initiative. She noted that “St. George Ambulance has been providing emergency services to the people of St. George for nearly 60 years. We are dedicated to improving the quality of life and health of our citizens and visitors.”
These new services, she said, are possible because the Ambulance Service has been chosen by the state of Maine as a pilot program. They have targeted the specific needs of this community in developing new program ideas.
The Community Paramedics have completed extensive additional training to prepare for their role, but there is an important part to be played by EMTs as well. With all the additional services that St. George Ambulance is trying to make available, the need for EMTs continues to grow.
A Citizen Opportunity
Beginning on July 25th, and running through October 26th, the Ambulance Association will be offering an EMT training course here in St. George. It will be held on Monday and Thursday evenings, with a few Saturday sessions as needed. Additional information about this course is available from Adrian Stone, the EMS Director (firstname.lastname@example.org). The course must have twelve students enrolled to run. Stone stresses that the course is of value even to people who might not be sure they want to become EMTs. The skills it teaches can truly save lives. And the confidence you gain from knowing that you can do something to help in an emergency is profound.
— Margot Kelley