There is no need for career
emergency medical services (EMS) personnel here at this time.
That was the conclusion of an independent task force studying
concerns about the delivery of EMS in the Emmitsburg area. The
group was appointed last summer by the president of the
Frederick County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association (FCVFRA)
following growing complaints about the service provided by
Emmitsburg Ambulance Co.
The issue was pushed to the
front burner in July after the volunteers failed to respond to
seven of eight emergencies in a 33-hour period. Ambulance
crews from other jurisdictions handled the calls. Since 1998,
members of Vigilant Hose Co. have voiced concern about the
service. They went a step further by staffing an ambulance
themselves, and requesting the county place career EMS
personnel in the Emmitsburg area. Their request was denied.
Last summer, a panel was
appointed to take a look at the quality and delivery of EMS,
and make recommendations. The firefighters wanted the
groupís report in 30 days, but the panel was given 90 days
by Don Lachman, president of the county fire and rescue
association. "They did not recommend a change in
operations," Mr. Lachman said. "They said there was
no need for paid people right now."
However, the panel said the
Emmitsburg Ambulance Co. could use some help with
administrative issues, including assistance with - making a
budget. Mr. Lachman said the association has offered its help
or guidance where the company could obtain assistance, but
company officials say they don't need the hand. "Once we
explained our credentials, they understood a little more said
Joe Pelkey, President of Emmitsburg Ambulance Co.
Mr. Pelkey said overall the
company was pleased with the report. I think it was
fair," he said, "it doesn't hurt to see Your
weaknesses". But the ambulance company wants the panel to
take a look at Vigilant Hose Co. "They were supposed to
investigate the fire company like they did us," he said.
"We asked them to, and we would like them to do it."
The findings of the panel
have been kept close to the vest. Members of the executive
committee of the fire and rescue association agreed that Mr.
Lachman would handle all inquiries. Neither the officers of
Vigilant Hose nor Thurmont Community Ambulance have seen the
report. Tim Clarke, Vigilant Hose president, said the company
is not interested in participating in a discussion group with
the ambulance company as suggested by Mr. Lach man. "We'd
like to see what's in the report," Mr. Clarke said.
"We are still concerned about the quality of EMS
Mr. Clarke said the company's
request that the county put career people in Emmitsburg
remains on the table. But he added that they wonít make
another formal request. Terry Shook, president of Thurmont
Community Ambulance, said he wasnít sure the issues have
been addressed. "I havenít seen a report," he
In a July letter to the
county fire association, Mr. Shook asked for an investigation
of Emmitsburg Ambulance Co. The Thurmont Ambulance Co. was
often handling emergencies when the Emmitsburg crew failed to