EMS volunteers strive to provide best care possible

Published 6:33 pm Thursday, January 24, 2013

To the editor:

I have been involved in emergency service in Polk County for 24 years. I have been an EMT for the last 20.

There has recently been a lot of discussion over the county commissioners handling of the medical director issue. This issue indeed goes back eight to 10 years and I know that previous commissioners have been made aware of the issues. It has been until now that we have been able to have them address them.

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There was an article I believe last week that discussed the liability taken on by a medical director and the counties compensation for that liability. All that is true the medical director is liable for the actions good or bad of responders that operate under their license. I suppose it is only right that they receive compensation for the liability. But what about the chief’s of the six fire departments and the captain of the county rescue squad. These individuals along with their board of directors also face the same liability. They are responsible for the actions of the responders from their respective departments. They receive no compensation at all. It’s part of the job.

A lady wrote concerned about having non-trained people responding to calls for help. The North Carolina Office of the Fire Marshal requires 36 hours of training for fire fighters every year. In addition the North Carolina Office of EMS requires 24 hours of training in medical related subjects for all medically certified personnel every year. Highly trained people are responding to your calls for help. She also asked why the commissioners were not being more flexible with the training schedule to assist the volunteers in getting the training. It’s not the commissioners that are not being flexible.

There are many other variables with this issue that there is neither time nor space here to address. But I urge you all to ask responders from your community what their issues have been and how they feel about the change. I would like to thank the commissioners and the county manager for stepping in and addressing our concerns. Hopefully very soon we can put this all behind us and get back to what’s important and that’s providing the best care we can to our citizens and visitors.

– Marty L. McGuinn, Mill Spring