Recent changes or improvements undertaken to offer better care/service: We recently added mandatory CME requirements for our members to maintain active status. We have been providing in-house classes at least once per month. Classes are led by outside instructions and we cover everything from document reviews to OB/GYN topics.
We are also now part of a five-member county-wide cooperative program. During times when it's difficult to get volunteers, such as Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., each third-party service staffs an additional ambulance on their designated day that responses without boundaries. This system provides quicker response than standard mutual aid. We staff an additional ambulance on Fridays so there is always an ambulance ready for surge moments.
Recent technology or equipment upgrades: Over the past two years we've transferred all of our ALS equipment to Philips MRx 12-lead cardiac monitors. Now we have uniform cardiac monitoring equipment in every vehicle in the department. This simplifies training because everyone uses the same equipment. Other departments in town have also upgraded to the same equipment so when we have other ambulances come in, everyone is familiar with the equipment.
Any new or unusual protocols: We recently started designating STEMI centers and using 12-lead transmission capabilities.
Special projects or programs you conduct or participate in: We just received a grant for a CPR program that is designed as a familiarization program to give community members a better idea of what CPR is and how to do it. We want to educate them about the importance of quick bystander intervention, which now doesn't require ventilation. We intend to loan out the equipment for community groups to use. We hope to have the program in place early next year.
How do you reduce costs or maximize limited funding: Keeping costs down is reliant on keeping volunteers coming in. We've worked hard to improve recruitment. We also keep costs down by remounting ambulance module boxes. We keep a vehicle in service for about five years, then buy a new chassis and remount the box. We've mounted one box three times. We can save about half the cost of a new ambulance.
Plans for the future: 1.) Continue to find ways to maintain the active volunteer recruitment program. 2.) Build an annex building on the headquarters property to expand vehicle capacity from six to eight ambulances. 3.) Upgrade the dispatch system to a computerized system that will coincide with the county's dispatch program.