Archive for Thursday, July 26, 2007

New EMS group launches

July 26, 2007

When Eudora citizens are hurt or sick, a new group will be hitting the streets to provide prompt medical help.

The Eudora Community Emergency Medical Service responded to two calls Sunday during its first day of operation. Eudora Community EMS took over service from the Eudora Emergency Medical service at noon.

The group started out cleaning response vehicles and repairing equipment.

About 20 minutes after switching over, the first-responding unit was out on its first call.

The medics found a patient dead on arrival on the west side of town, Ates said.

"Unfortunately, there wasn't anything we could do," Eudora Community EMS supervisor Randy Ates said.

The death is believed to be from natural causes, Eudora Police Chief Greg Dahlem said.

The service later responded to a two-car accident Sunday evening in the area of Highway 1061 and Douglas County Road 900. The Eudora Township Fire Department and Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical also responded.

"All went well," Ates said.

The launch came after several weeks of transition for the service.

Members of Eudora EMS and prospective volunteers helped Ates make the necessary preparations for the new group.

"They tackled a lot of problems," Ates said.

The city and county agreed to enter into a two-party agreement to form the Eudora Community EMS earlier in the month. The group still operates under the medical guidelines of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical.

Ates supervises the crew and maintains a headquarters at the Eudora City Fire Station.

As of Monday, the service had about 19 active members, Ates said.

At the time, several applications were still going through the system, he said.

"It looks like we're going to have a full house very quickly, which is fantastic," Ates said.

The application process goes through both Ates and the county. Ates first takes a one-page application and proof of any medical certification attained by the applicant. He sends the information to the county for a pre-approval process. County personnel conduct a background check and a drug screening. After officials at LDCFM look over the applications, they send a recommendation to Ates.

"Usually by that point, if they had already approved it, I doubt I'd have anything different to say," Ates said.

Once accepted, applicants with the necessary certification as emergency medical technicians or first responders start immediately. The applicants still needing the certification would be probationary members until they become certified, Ates said.

The group is looking to eventually jump from about 20 members to 25 members, Ates said.

The additional manpower means the service could have seven to nine people on duty at any given time, while providing time for the rest of the service members to train or help out with special events, Ates said.

"My goal is to have four people on duty at all times," Ates said.

Eudora EMS had nine members at the time of the switch over. Seven members of the former organization are working with Eudora Community EMS.

"It's gratifying to see that people want to help their community in this day and age," Ates said.

Former Eudora EMS director Bill Vigneron is participating in the new service.

"I think it's going to work out just fine," Vigneron said. "We've had several calls since we had the change and we've had good responses."

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