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Dothan Periodonics

EMS Transport and EMA Meet - Out of State EMS and Law Enforcement On What NOT to do

Rickey Stokes

Viewed: 3775

Posted by: RStokes
Date: Mar 22 2019 8:58 PM

HOUSTON COUNTY:  On Thursday evening the leaders of the 5 Volunteer EMS Transport units in Houston County came together, along with Dothan-Houston County Emergency Management Director Chris Judah, for third in a series of meetings they have been having. This was the third consecutive month the group has met along with representatives of Pilcher Ambulance Service.

Houston County consists of 582 square miles. From Wicksburg to Gordon, Kinsey to Madrid.

Dothan, which is the county seat of Houston County is 89.98 square miles, or 15% of the total square miles of Houston County. In Dothan Pilcher Ambulance is the EMS transport provider. Dothan Fire has nine Paramedic Fire Engines for rapid response but no transport of sick or injured persons.

Across the 494.02 square miles of Houston County, EMS is covered by 5 Houston County non profit EMS transport providers; Wicksburg Fire - Rescue; Rehobeth Fire - Rescue; Cottonwood Rescue; Ashford Rescue; Columbia Rescue; and in Kinsey area Headland Fire - Rescue; Pilcher Ambulance has an assigned territory outside the city limits of Dothan and in Houston County. Pilcher Ambulance also serves as backup to other EMS across Houston County as does the other EMS.

In the 494.02 square miles of Houston County that excludes the City Limits of Dothan, the above named EMS providers and 17 Fire Departments; Wicksburg, Bay Springs, Taylor, Rehobeth, Southern Junction, Hodgesville, Madrid, Cottonwood, Lovetown, Ashford, Cowarts, Pansey, Gordon, Lucy, Columbia, Webb and Kinsey; cover that area.

In year 2018, the 17 Fire, 5 non profit EMS transport in Houston County, Pilcher Ambulance and Headland Rescue responded to over 7,200 calls. Of those 7,200 calls, EMS calls accounted for some 4,600 and fire for 2,600 calls. Pilcher Ambulance responded to 31% of the 4,600 EMS calls in the county while the other EMS non profits accounted for 69% of the response.

Houston County has a $ 30 fire fee that is divided by the 17 fire departments. Houston County has a tobacco tax that is divided by SARCOA and the fire departments. The Houston County Commission funds the 5 non profit EMS transports in Houston County $ 26,000.00 a year paid in quarterly payments. The EMS non profits do bill for services but you would be surprised at the calls responded to of which no transport or no insurance to pay.

The EMS meetings are established in an effort for the EMS transports to get to know each other, train together, discuss issues and problems, ideas of how to better serve the citizens, and how to financially stay a float.

The EMS transport also helps each other out. Wicksburg Fire - Rescue expanded their service area and helps Dale County and Daleville with EMS calls and back up fire calls. 

Ozark Fire loaned Cottonwood Rescue a ambulance they were selling when Hurricane Michael totaled a ambulance out. Cottonwood Rescue was going to get a new ambulance but a down payment was not required but now one is required and Cottonwood Rescue does not have the necessary money for the down payment.

Wicksburg Rescue bought another ambulance. Cottonwood Rescue had a extra stretcher they loaned to Wicksburg. Ashford Ambulance went down and Wicksburg Fire - Rescue loaned Ashford one of their three ambulances. So the EMS units are talking and working together like never before all across Dothan and Houston County.

Below is a EMS call that happened in, I think the Carolina's. It reflects an example of what EMS, Fire and law enforcement are confronted with. It also identifies short falls in quality treatment by EMS provider. It also reflects something a lot of people are not aware of.

While the video and article below are not Alabama EMS and not Alabama law enforcement, Alabama has a mental health crisis. Folks, mental health issues are no different then someone with a heart issue, lung issue, cancer or any other medical issue. They are medical issues. There are very few options for families, the Probate Court, the courts, law enforcement and others required to help them.

When and if bed space is available in hospitals, the decision of a family to have their loved one involuntarily committed is a very painful decision. There are few options, often times no options left other than jail.

But the EMS treatment and actions of law enforcement in the video below are not acceptable.

The meetings and discussions the EMS transport providers are having give opportunities to meet, train and bring experts in to discuss options available for treating mental illness patients and what resources are available. Often times, more times then not, the hospital is on diversion for behavioral medicine patients. They do not belong in jail, so what do you do?

FUNDING - FUNDING - FUNDING is a major issue for the EMS transport providers, Ambulances are around $ 100,000.00 plus each. Nothing medical is cheap. And often times the non profits are having to pay medical persons and drivers in order to have the ambulances staffed. 

The towns of Columbia and Rehobeth help their EMS. In Cottonwood the town providers the financial accounting and pays the water but no financial assistance. In Ashford the citizens raised some money for Ashford Rescue but the city provides no financial assistance. The Town of Cowarts donates to Ashford Rescue to help. In Wicksburg there is no municipality but the citizens support them in fund raisers.

The EMS transport have no government entity to prop them up other then the $ 26,000.00 from Houston County. Almost all of that goes to insurance coverage.

Donations are appreciated to the EMS transport providers across the county. They are tax deductable.

ORANGEBURG, SC (WRDW/WAGT) - It started with a few 911 calls on Sept. 9, 2018. 

911 Caller: There is a man naked running down the interstate on 95.

911 Caller: I don't know if you are going to believe me or not, but I just had a naked guy come walk up on me on the side of the road, and I took off and I think he jumped on my catwalk. 

It was 26-year-old Paul Tarashuk. When Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office deputies arrived to try and grab Tarashuk, they believed he was on drugs. He was not. He was having a schizophrenic episode. Tarashuk's disorientation made it difficult for deputies and EMT officials that eventually arrived at the scene to understand him. 

Body cam captured by one of the deputies at the scene shows Tarashuk appearing confused. "I'm getting this thing passed down," one of the deputies said to a truck driver at the scene. "He ain't going to jail, I promise you that. He ain't my fish. I'll get him some medical help." 

Nobody knew just how much Tarashuk needed medical help more than his mother, Cindy Tarashuk. "Paul did have a mental illness," Cindy said. "Instead of helping him and recognizing what they should have been trained to recognize, they insulted him and called him names and mocked him." 



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