Essay on Emergency Medical Services and Grand Junction

Submitted By kmlesjak
Words: 2486
Pages: 10

Kelley Lesjak
Carol Christ
09 May 2014
The Money it Takes to Run the Mesa County Fire Departments “911 what is your emergency?” This is what one hears when 911 is dialed for emergency services. Once hanging up with the dispatcher the injured person anticipates a team of highly-trained experts to rush to save his or her life, family, friends and home. For the rescue the victim does not only expect these highly-trained professionals to acquire and identify how to use any and all up to date apparatuses, but to have a hasty arrival time and trip to the emergency room in a hygienic and running ambulance. What does not come to one’s mind for the duration of an emergency is the money it costs for these trained professionals to save and treat the victim of an emergency, and how local fire departments are struggling to keep up financially. Throughout Mesa County there are a total of thirteen fire stations, Palisade Fire Department, Clifton Fire Department, East Orchard Mesa Fire Department, five Grand Junction Fire Departments, Gateway Fire Department, Plateau Valley Fire Department, Land’s End Fire Department, Glade Park Fire Department and Lower Valley Fire Department. Respectively, they all respond to both fire and emergency medical service (EMS) calls. The total personnel of the Mesa County Fire Department’s is 320+ men and women, see figure 1. They service an estimated population of 152,485 and cover a total of 3,341 square miles for fire and emergency calls (Grand Junction Fire Department Media Guide). “The fire agencies in Mesa County vary from 100% volunteer, to paid on-call, combination and 100% paid agencies” (Mesa County Fire Study Report). Each of these stations together have a personnel of a paid or volunteer Fire Chief, paid or volunteer Fire Fighters and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT). The larger stations are complete with a full paid staff of administration/clerical employees, an assistant chief, a lieutenant, paramedics, engineers, administrators and many more personnel. For most of these stations, there are one or more crews present at all hours of the day ready for emergency calls. For the smaller, volunteer departments, assigned crews are ready to be dispatched from their private lives during any part of the day and are summoned to the department from private residences to prepare for the emergency call. During the 2013 calendar year these agencies responded to over 18,000 unique incidents. They do not however have to make a call quota like many agencies around the United States do. “Grand Junction was the busiest with over 12,341 incidents in their jurisdiction, while East Orchard Mesa had the least calls at 41. The average calls per day varies greatly among the fire agencies, from a low of .11 per day in East Orchard Mesa to a high of 33.72 calls daily in Grand Junction” (MCFSFR). Contingent on the time of day and agency, a crew of three to five men and or women are scheduled for a shift to cover an apportioned province of Mesa County. More crews are paged from dispatch if the crew members feel they need more assistance. Deanna Kinser-Young, a 26 year part-time paid Emergency Medical Technician-Intermediate (EMT-I) for Grand Junction Fire Department states that on her twelve hour shift she responds to five plus emergency calls. The call volume peaks amongst the hours of 12:00 noon to 6:00 PM, whereas Friday and Saturday are the busiest days of the week. Friday’s response calls can range from 2600 and higher while Saturday calls can range from 2700 and higher. “According to the Commission in Fire Accreditation International 3,500 calls per year for a single apparatus (machine, tool, device) is the target threshold to begin planning for additional resources, at 3,500 calls annually additional resources are needed or action needs to be taken to alleviate demand from the unit” (MCFSFR). One Grand Junction Fire Station is above that 3,500 annual call load, but have not received any additional