Jefferson County Ambulance readies for Meriden substation
by Dennis Sharkey
The Jefferson County Ambulance Department started running two ambulances 24 hours a day this month and it has already started paying off.
Ambulance Director James Tweed told commissioners on Monday that call volume is up 10 percent over this time last year and more than 17 percent from 2010.
“I can’t tell you what a difference that has made in response times,” Tweed said. “We’re seeing immediate results.”
A rise in call volume isn’t a statistic Tweed wants to see but the number of actual transports is also up at a 9.5 percent rate which means the calls turn into actual volume and what is not considered a cancelation.
As of July 15 the department received 675 calls with 430 (64 percent) of those calls ending in a transport of a patient. About 14 percent of the calls ended in refusal of service and about 18 percent have ended in a cancelation.
A cancelation can have a number of different definitions including a refusal of service, standby for a fire that has no injuries or standby at athletic events.
Between 30 and 35 percent of all calls during a normal period end up in a cancelation of some type.
Currently the two ambulances are operating out of the station in Oskaloosa but that will soon change.
Tweed expects the inside work of a new ambulance substation in Meriden to be completed in the next two weeks. The second ambulance unit will work out of Meriden. The two on duty ambulances per work shift is a permanent move.
Tweed expressed great relief when reporting the progress to commissioners on Monday. He has been working on the second substation for more than two years.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Tweed said. “It’s a big relief for me.”
Tweed no doubt feels a lot less pressure. Before the second ambulance was added, many on-call shifts were filled by himself.
“It makes me feel a lot more ease with what we are providing,” Tweed said.
The addition of the second ambulance came with good timing. Since July 1 the average daily volume of calls has nearly doubled from the previous six months of the year.
Tweed attributed the rise in calls to the heat but said there are different aspects of the heat that generate calls.
His department sees more calls from patients with chronic illnesses. He said the heat is an aggravator to many of those illnesses.
Tweed said the heat also brings out more people having a good time which also leads to more accidents.
“When it gets hot like this people tend to do crazy things,” Tweed said. “People are enjoying themselves a little more.”
Tweed said an open house for the new substation will be scheduled soon.
In other actions:
- Commissioners approved to send two employees to coroner training.
- Road and Bridge Director Francis Hubbard reported that the annual chip and seal program is completed with nearly 40 miles serviced.
- Commissioners approved a contract with Keystone Learning Services to provide nursing and monthly screening services for all of the programs Keystone provides.
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