The Roundup -

Richland County Ambulance Service

 

Richland County EMTs, front (L-R) Kodi Fischer, Neava Hall, Marilyn Halvorson, Ashley Harris, Lana Watson, Bobbi Jo Hackman, Raechel Beyer, Sharon Carlson, Lyndsey Sorteberg, Mikayla Minow, Tracy Berry and Greg Simon. Back row (L-R) Kylee Lange, Nate Herbel, Pete Erickson, Lee Roy Schmierer, Jason Nelson, Ken Hill, Gary Hill, Grant Watson, Brady Reuter, Lee Reuter and Randy Nilsen, back in the corner behind the ambulance is Andy Carda. Not pictured Deana Allison, Danielle Bergeron, Brett Berry, Emily Berry, Trish Buxbaum, Matthew Danielson, Leif Halvorson, Jenelle Hampton, Nicholas Kallem, Catherine Kersting, Yvette Lien, Joy-Lyn McDonald, Joshua McGahan, Wanda Miller, Larysa Mindt, Kale Rasmussen, Justin Schmierer, Anne Taylor, Cody Whitney, Rachel Williamson and Greta Zosel.

Sirens flare, lights blaze and another ambulance flies down the street to someone's aid. It happens way too often and yet, someone is blessed with another chance at life every time. EMS or Emergency Medical Services delivers prehospital care and medical transport to those with illness or injuries that prevent them from transporting themselves. While EMTs, EMRs and paramedics may respond, only an EMT or paramedic may transport a patient. They are all compassionate, hardworking and dedicated people who often have other jobs in the community but are always ready to drop everything and fly to another's aid yet again.

Richland County Ambulance Service is an EMS currently run by the Sidney Health Center. It is a low-cost operation. Just the fact that the hospital runs it saves money on training and supplies. It consists of over 50 volunteer EMTs and five ambulances spread over four towns. Two ambulances are parked in an ambulance bay at the hospital in Sidney, Montana. The one in Fairview has its own garage while the ones in Lambert and Savage each share the local firehouse with other emergency vehicles.

There are no paramedics with the Richland County Ambulance Service yet. EMTs in Montana need 200 contact hours each year in each group of problems such as pregnancy, pediatric and geriatric to keep their qualifications and paramedics require even more. Not much goes on in rural communities and Richland County has calmed down a little since the last oil boom. Any paramedic would find it difficult to keep up on their qualifications.

Richland County Ambulance Service is looking for more volunteer EMTs. When the average term of service is only five years due to lifestyle changes, staffing is always a pressing issue for them. Ambulance Director Greg Simon said, "Staffing needs are always a major concern." New volunteers go through 150 hours of initial training before beginning their service. Then they must do 20 to 100 hours of continuing training per year to stay qualified. People who wish to become a volunteer EMT in Richland County can attend one of the job fairs that are often held at Sidney Health Center and advertised on the hospitals' website and Facebook page.

 

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