Letter: EMS needs ignoredA committee met to address the needs of Hudson Public Safety departments April 3. Space, personnel and equipment issues were discussed. St. Croix EMS Chief Eric Christensen indicated a lack of space, but adequate staff and funding. Yet parts of the staff and budget are completely inadequate and aren’t being addressed.
By: John Larsen, Hudson, Hudson Star-Observer
A committee met to address the needs of Hudson Public Safety departments April 3. Space, personnel and equipment issues were discussed. St. Croix EMS Chief Eric Christensen indicated a lack of space, but adequate staff and funding. Yet parts of the staff and budget are completely inadequate and aren’t being addressed.
EMS relies heavily on the extremely limited in-town staff. Out-of-town members have been hired as if staffing a full-time department, which is far from the truth. We are called upon daily to respond to EMS and rescue all-calls from home, yet only 18 of the 50 members live close enough. Currently a paramedic chase vehicle responds, with two EMTs in the ambulance often six-eight minutes behind.
Not only does this cost more than a full-time EMT and paramedic crew, it significantly delayed ambulance response time to the 1,739 calls St. Croix EMS answered in 2007. Call volume indicates the definite need for a full-time crew, so why doesn’t it exist? Christensen tells staff the city doesn’t support it yet doesn’t mention it when a committee is addressing just such needs.
St. Croix EMS also conducts rescue operations, which are being completely ignored. A small, dedicated group provides vehicle extrication, dive and high-angle, technical rescue for Hudson and many surrounding areas. It is often assumed that HFD conducts rescue operations such as vehicle extrication, which is not the case.
St. Croix EMS has some of the highest trained rescue personnel in the area and even the metro, often being asked to train other agencies in extrication, dive and high-angle rescue. Rescuers have invested thousands of hours in training, and what was once an extremely proficient and respected team has dwindled due to public ignorance and lack of administrative support.
Only six members who live four-six minutes from the station are active in rescue, leaving two or three available to respond at any given time. It has become a common theme to financially and fundamentally ignore St. Croix EMS Rescue. Only the extreme dedication of a few members makes up for the staggering lack of staff and funding.
Training, personnel and equipment are constantly restricted due to lack of monies. Christensen tells rescue staff the money just isn’t there, yet again asks nothing of a committee assessing such needs. Now St. Croix EMS is supporting HFD in training and purchasing their own rescue equipment. The intentions of the administration are becoming quite clear.
Editor’s Note:The writer is involved with St. Croix EMS, Rescue, Dive Team and Ropes