by Lynn Maxwell – HSB
Horseshoe Bend: On December 20th, Bruce Cheeseman, State EMS Director, John Roberts, Boise County Emergency Manager, Nate Howell, Horseshoe Bend Fire District Chief and Judith Huton, Horseshoe Bend EMS Director meet with local EMTs and interested parties to discuss the plans to keep the Horseshoe Bend Ambulance license active. Current EMTs, soon to be re-certified people, future drivers and people wanting to become EMTs were in attendance. Driver certifications, with the assistance of the Garden Valley Fire/EMT department were discussed, 4 people will take that driving class on December 28 and new EMT classes the first of the year were discussed.
Roberts offered assistance from the East Boise County Ambulance in whatever form would help. He discussed the possibility of creating an Ambulance taxing district for the Horseshoe Bend City Ambulance, if that was the direction the city chose to take. He does not want the county to have to take over Horseshoe Bend’s EMT services.
Cheeseman discussed the absolute necessity to keep the ambulance in service, as 2 waivers had been granted in the past and a third was questionable, unless a solid plan for change was being implemented. The amount of time the ambulance was being ‘out of service’ for the last few months is what brought HSB to his attention. “An ambulance cannot be out of service 48% of the time and be considered effective.” He went on to explain that he had to see change, soon or the license would be cancelled.” He also said there was fresh grant money for instructors to make training available and he would do everything he could to help Horseshoe Bend get as many people trained and certified as possible.
Huton stated that she needed 14 EMTs for full coverage with each one having a 24 hour shift 2 times a month. Currently the 6-8 EMTs are stretching themselves and making it work. Once more drivers are certified, the EMTs will be relieved of driver duty and act only as EMTs, which will decrease the burden.
Roberts asked what it would take for more people to step up and volunteer. Cheeseman said the active EMTs have to have a welcoming attitude and act to include the new people as team members. He went on to say that Donnelly has created a culture to get the 20-30 year-olds to join which has necessitated some adjustments in the standard program. Huton said she would like to offer classes in the high school starting at 16 so that by the time the interested students were graduated they could be EMTs, this would require a change in the current city policy.
Howell, HSB Fire Chief, said that there a a number of firemen that want to be cross trained as either drivers or EMTs and he has a strong desire to have both departments work as one unit. He wants to work with Huton to stop the separation of fire and ambulance. Huton agreed and had set up a meeting with the two of them and Garden Valley (where both fire and ambulance is under one roof) for the following day.
The ability to pay stipends was discussed by Roberts and the confusion on whether on call but not responding to a call cancelled the stipend. He suggested the City attorney, County attorney and he meet to iron it out. He also discovered how HSB radios worked, to his dismay.
Questions and answers covered a wide range of topics, with very frank discussion. Some confusion was cleared up and defined. The attendees left the meeting expressing gratitude and high hopes that the system is now on solid footing with the approval of both Bruce Cheeseman, State Director and John Roberts, County Emergency Director.