Near the end of the Peabody City Council meeting Monday night, Mayor Larry Larsen passed out a copy of the September on-call schedule for emergency medical crews that provide Peabody’s ambulance service. With only a few exceptions, our community is covered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Some of our EMTs are on call 500 or 600 hours a month, some only a few hours. And yes, there are a few times when the volunteers we have simply won’t stretch to cover every hour of every day.
The month of September has 720 hours. Each hour should have at least two volunteers on call, which means our ambulance people are covering 1440 hours. We have seven volunteers. Most of them are stretched pretty thin. Even more troublesome is the fact that Marion County only has 14 emergency medical people countywide! How scary is that?
If this situation is something that concerns you and you would like to help fix it, your chance is coming up fairly soon. On Sept. 16, Marion County will begin classes to train additional volunteers to serve as emergency medical technicians. The classes are not free, but there may be some cost breaks available through private or community funding options. If you have an interest in serving your community members when they need your help the most, Peabody and all other Marion County communities would appreciate your help.
Becoming certified to help people in life or death situations is a heavy responsibility and it certainly is not for everyone. In communities as small as ours, where you are likely to personally know your patients and their families, your job might not always have a happy ending. However, what if it did end well? What if you were there on time, did everything right, and got to see that person at the next home football game? That would be a pretty awesome reward for doing your job, right?
There are a handful of Peabody and Florence volunteers that I mentally thank for responding to my pleas for help when I was having chest pains. I remember the anniversaries of each of those dates. Ten years later, here I am because they knew what I needed and were able to provide it. Never could I have taken care of it myself and survived.
And on the worst night of my life, Peabody did not have a full ambulance crew available. If there had been one, it would have made no difference. However, I hope none of you will ever know the empty and hopeless feeling that comes when you realize the dispatcher who took your 911 call can do nothing more than send an ambulance from 20 miles away when it is probably already too late.
Our emergency medical volunteers are important. If you can fill a spot, we need you! For more information about classes and costs, contact Larry Larsen at (316) 258-2329.
— SUSAN MARSHALL