(Shoshoni, WY) – The Shoshoni Town Council held their special meeting Wednesday, May 5th, where the county ambulance service situation was discussed at length.
The contract for the current provider, AMR, ends June 30th, at which point the county will take over ambulance services. As of this writing, there are no known bids to take over ambulance services.
In an effort to be proactive before the end of the June 30th contract term, Police Chief/Town Clerk Christopher Konija and Mayor Joel Highsmith offered a potential plan, unanimously approved by the council, that aims to lay the groundwork for a paid volunteer service.
Before this potential service can begin, initial steps must be taken. The first of which would be announcing the formation of the service and applying for emergency medical licensure through the Online Wyoming Licensure Systems.
Once this is completed, a licensed Medical Director must be decided upon to oversee the service, and an official name for the service must be given.
When all of this is completed, potential funding will become available that could go toward purchasing another ambulance vehicle, equipment, and training.
According to Konija, this process will take about 30 days, necessitating taking these steps now so Shoshoni isn’t left scrambling come June 30th.
Mayor Highsmith stated that if the County Commissioner’s decide on a service at any point during this process, they will not be obligated to move along with this plan. “That being said,” the Mayor noted, “We may decide to keep the service if it benefits the people of Shoshoni, even if someone takes over for AMR. The main concern is taking action now to have something in place just in case, then we have options.”
As for deciding who these paid volunteers will be and who will train them, Konija stated there have already been 3 volunteers who have offered to take EMT training classes, and proposed the idea of having law enforcement and members of the fire department take on some of these duties.
While there was some concern about stretching these workers too thin without additional pay, Konija stated that law enforcement and fire crews are often first responders in their own right, and with proper training they could make this a part of their routines.
Additionally, volunteers would be “paid per run,” meaning the payment received would be for the duration of the emergency at hand.
In terms of training, it was also mentioned that Shoshoni’s part-time police officer Jeff Leafgreen, a certified EMS, could potentially provide in this area. According to Konija, this training takes 150 hours, about 4 to 6 weeks, once again necessitating these steps being taken now.
Highsmith also said that as far as he understands it, if Shoshoni has their own ambulance service, they would not be beholden to some of the legal setbacks as corporate service providers. This means, the volunteer driver of the ambulance would not have to be trained as an emergency responder, and could be anyone at least 18 years of age with a clean driving record.
“That would mean one less person to have to medically train, which once again, provides options,” Highsmith noted.
“The main thing is we all need to work together, the municipalities, the Tribes, everyone, needs to communicate with each other about this since it affects us all. Luckily we have a good group of mayors that work together.”
To read all of County 10’s coverage of the ambulance service situation, click here.