Volunteers speak out about problems with EMS

Published 9:43pm Thursday, January 24, 2013

Sacrifice of volunteers

Marty McGuinn said the time commitment is more than people realize.

“EMS relies heavily on first responders to often provide a driver when the one-man EMS unit responds to calls. An average medical call from dispatch to finish takes about an hour. When we are required to drive to the hospital it can add another hour. If we have to go to Spartanburg or Mission, you are looking at three hours for a volunteer,” he said.

Gregg agreed that more people need to understand the sacrifice and time volunteers pour into serving the county.

“A lot of people have no idea what these volunteers do,” Gregg said. “It’s hard if you’ve got people going out in the middle of the night when they have to work day shift the next day.”

He said the first responders are willing to take the time but want someone to help them accomplish their requirements, not stand in their way.

Edwards said too said he feels those who manage the EMS system don’t respect the commitment volunteers are already more than willing to make.

“There’s never any encouragement; they belittle people and they talk down to people,” he said. “The thing that bothers me most is that we are losing first responders left and right because of Allison [Dr. Allison Owens] and Sandra [Sandra Halford, EMS director]. People are getting to a point where they are giving up and don’t want to volunteer.”

Dr. Owens disagrees that volunteers aren’t valued.

“It’s huge – it’s a huge commitment, I understand that,” she said.

But she said if someone cannot meet the requirements they should not volunteer.

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