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Jackson Newspapers - Ripley, WV
  • EMS Director reports misuse of ambulances by residents, retirement of employee

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  • RIPLEY - EMS Director Steve McClure made his monthly report at a recent meeting of the Jackson County Commission.
    The EMS director reported 376 calls this month. McClure described it as the fourth busiest month of the year. He also added that there are those who abuse the system.
    Said McClure, “People who don’t have money will call an ambulance. If they don’t have a doctor they call us. They know when we take them they are going to see a doctor. People also think that if they go to the emergency room in an ambulance they will get seen quicker and that’s not right.”
    McClure added that some of the calls made were not even emergency related.
     “We actually had someone call us to their house to fluff their pillow,” said the director, “When we arrived the patient said ‘I’m really not all that sick, but since you’re here can you fluff my pillows?’ On another call we went to a house and there were eight cars in the driveway. When we get ready to get grandma, she gets up and walks to the ambulance. These calls take the ambulances way from people who really need them. But we can’t prioritize.  If we get called, we have to take that call. We have no other choice.”
    According to McClure, the average age of callers in Ravenswood is 67.8 years. The average age in Ripley is 58.1.
    McClure reported that Pam Miller had retired. She was hired in 1999 and retired on October 29 with full service.
    You don’t see that a lot in EMS. The problem with EMS is when you retire from EMS or fire service you’re beat up. To give you an example; the average professional, paid firefighter lives about 8 years after he retires,” said McClure, “I applaud the county for having the foresight, and that was before I got here, to get involved in the EMS retirement system.”
    He continued, ”That allowed Pam with her service and age to retire at a more substantially younger age. There are a lot of counties that don’t even participate in that retirement system. With most of our younger folks are they’re going to be able to retire at age 50, because they will have enough time and service to make that magic number. It speaks well of the service that somebody retired from here.”
    He went on to say that the average that anyone spends in West Virginia working as an EMS is seven years.
     “The turn around and the turnover in EMS is terrible. It’s even worse paramedic -wise because paramedics get better jobs or get fed up or they are just burned out is. This is the reason that I said not many people can say that they retired from the EMS field.”
    Page 2 of 2 - EMS activities:
     • Classes were held for courthouse employees in CPR. Sixteen individuals attended the class.
    • The new ambulance is in service with no major problems.
    • A unit needing a remount is in Indianan and is getting worked on. The vehicle is supposed to be ready in 60 days.

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