A concern of County Commissioner Dr. Adam Katschke is that at present, the town of Pioche has only one certified volunteer EMT person available to make ambulance calls.
At the Commission meeting March 3, he expressed his thoughts that the northern part of the county does not have enough volunteer EMT personnel. “It is found everywhere, but Pioche is the worst off right now,” he said. “There is just one person who actually goes out on runs.”
Part of the problem is that although several people have taken the course, they did not pass the final national test. Because of that, a couple of the instructors, Katschke said, have been told they cannot instruct for a while, leaving only one person able to teach the class.
Katschke said new rules are being put into place whereby EMT volunteers on ambulances have be certified as Advanced. “We have Basic and Intermediate, and from here on out,” he said, “there won’t be any Basics at all. We have very few Intermediates, almost all Basics in our communities.”
He said he would like to see some kind of incentive given to those who are interested in taking the training. “It’s very involved, 160 hours of instruction, with Advance being almost a professional EMT.”
He would like to see if Commissioners, as operators of Meadow Valley Ambulance, “can put something together where we can help the volunteers pay for their time of taking the class. In turn, we would ask them to go on a couple of ambulance runs every month.”
Katschke, along with Grover C. Dils Hospital administrator Jason Bleak, Missie Rowe, and George Rowe are working together to come up with some solutions. Katschke said he sits on the southern division board of Workforce Connections, “and we are trying to work with them. There is funding available for training and job placement.”
He said he thought Jason Bleak would put together a proposal to present to Workforce Connections to get some of the grant money “to help subsidize this class for those who take it, those that teach it, and make it a monetary incentive.”
Although EMTs are volunteers, they do receive a small stipend for their service, and Katschke said he would like to see that increased.