The Scotland County Ambulance District has relocated to new headquarters between the pharmacy and Shelter Insurance on Highway 136. The transition from Scotland County Hospital began officially on July 1, 2019, with the move- in occurring on October 1, 2019. The move to the new building allowed for more space including a bigger garage to fit all three ambulance vehicles, living quarters with a kitchen, two bathrooms and six bedrooms. Other amenities include storage space, a new office for the crew to do charting, and a conference room. The living quarters are an added incentive for employees, especially those who serve on first shift in addition to the work schedule, which includes working four days on and then four days off. The majority of the crew are from out of town, so they live at the base during their shifts. The District requires the crews to have a set response time while on first call which is slightly extended for those on back-up call with equally required time limit.
The Ambulance District, which is the local ambulance provider who serves all of Scotland County. The district still uses the emergency number 465-2131. Ron Tinkle, the Ambulance District board President, wants to stress the emergency number will remain the same and for anyone who calls this number it will be answered by the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office, who is the dispatch for all emergency services in Scotland County. There has been some confusion with this here recently. People have been calling the hospital requesting the ambulance. The hospital has no way to page or get in contact with the ambulance without calling the same emergency number (465-2131).
One benefit the ambulance district has is Time Critical Diagnosis (TCD), a state regulated program for STEMI “heart attacks,” stroke, and trauma. Which means once these patients are identified by EMS that they are to be taken directly to a TCD recognized facility. EMS Director, Erick Byrn said that even without the TCD regulations, we will still take you to the closest appropriate facility for the services required for the condition. Which is also a regulation for all EMS services in the state of Missouri. For example, the nearest cardiac facility is in Quincy, IL; the closest stroke center is in Columbia, MO, and trauma depending on the severity those facilities are in Kirksville, MO, Quincy, IL and Columbia, MO. University of Missouri is the only trauma facility in Columbia, MO. Driving time to Quincy is about an hour and fifteen minutes, with about a two hour drive to Columbia. One of the things that adds a benefit is being able to call a helicopter that would help transport those who are in need of the greater distances faster. The district has in place what they call early activation which means depending on what the complaint is from the patient on dispatch, a helicopter can be put in the air for a flying standby to the location provided to EMS. This helps to cut down on time when it is of value for certain conditions.
The helicopter can always be cancelled if not needed after assessment is completed by the EMS crew. In fact, they are the ones that put this together to help cut down time and save lives in the rural area and would rather be requested and cancelled on route then be needed and still 20 minutes away.
All of the districts ambulances are Advanced Life Support (ALS) which is a set of life-saving protocols and skills that extend Basic Life Support to further support the circulation and provide an open airway and adequate ventilation (breathing). Paramedic’s make up the advanced life support and EMT’s make up the basic life support.
Currently there is no 911 in Scotland County. If someone were to call 911 from a landline, the number should go to the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office. If someone called from a cell phone, the number may be directed to Clark County, Schuyler County, or potentially Iowa. This all depends on what part of the county you are in. We do have 911 addresses which have been lifesavers, with the majority of the crew not from here they are not familiar with some of the places here in the county. Those addresses have helped them find the locations they are going quicker. All three ambulances have a map book in them that has all the 911 addresses in it.
Currently, the ambulance district has five full-time staff including four EMTS and one medic. There are eleven PRN paramedics, one PRN registered nurse, and five PRN EMTs. The PRN employees work shifts as needed.
The ambulance district responds to an average of thirty-five calls a month. Erick said that some months there are less calls and some months there are more. A lot of it has to do with the flu and cold season that’s really when you see the numbers increase for medical calls, with the summer months we see a lot more trauma.
The district is planning an open house after the weather starts to warm up. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call or stop by the business office.