Moscow Ambulance is suffering from a lack of personnel. This shortage is driven in part by the behavior of EMS Division Chief Dave Reynolds toward some of the volunteers, and in part by the demanding and unrewarding nature of the work.
Many people have left the department, which means that those who remain have an increased workload. Granted, Moscow does not have a high call volume, according to Reynolds; but still, some calls are not answered until after dispatch has toned them out three to five times.
Yesterday, at 5:27pm, dispatch toned out a request to return a patient from Gritman to their home in Deary.
At 5:28, receiving no response from Moscow Ambulance, they toned it out a second time.
Third tone at 5:30. Still no response.
Fourth tone at 5:32.
Fifth tone at 5:34.
At 5:36, Moscow Ambulance calls in with a full crew on their way to the station, nine minutes after an ambulance was first requested.
This morning, there was a call for Moscow Ambulance to respond to an injured battery victim.
The first tone occurred at 1:42.
At 1:45, it was toned out a second time.
At 1:48, it was toned out a third time.
At 1:51, it was toned out a fourth time. At this time, Moscow Ambulance has a full crew en route to the scene, nine minutes after the first tone.
One minute later, the ambulance was on scene. This shows that the delay was not due to any distance from the patient’s location, but simply because they had difficulty assembling a crew.
Later this morning, another call went out, this time for a fall with hip pain.
Dispatch made the first tone at 7:29.
At 7:31, they toned it out again. At this time, the fire department has an engine on scene, but the ambulance company still doesn’t have a crew together.
A third tone occurs at 7:34. At this time they have a full crew headed to the station.
Five minutes later, at 7:39, the ambulance is finally en route to the scene.
Each of these calls occurred within the last twenty-four hours. We don’t have to cherry-pick from calls made over the last few years to prove the case that Moscow Ambulance does not have the resources to consistently respond in a timely manner. This is a systemic problem that has persisted for quite some time, and shows no sign of improvement.