SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — It took EMS crews more than 30 minutes to get to a somerset county deck collapse that sent three people to the hospital. Now, EMS officials said the reason is there were no ambulance crews available near the home.
A lack of personnel entering the workforce is just one factor putting the future of EMS in danger. The Executive Director of Southern Alleghenies EMS Council said in the meantime, people in the community should be prepared for emergency situations.
On July 26, a deck collapsed at a home in Addison, Somerset County. The closest ambulance crew was already committed to a call, causing the county’s 911 center to call crews in Maryland and West Virginia for help.
Carl Moen, Executive Director of the Southern Alleghenies EMS Council, suggested folks learn how to take control of an emergency situation while waiting for EMS crews to arrive.
“Take first aid classes. Take stop the bleed classes that they know them what to do to manage an emergency until help gets there,” he said.
In 2018, there were 348 EMS workers in Somerset County. The average response time was just under 11 minutes, but their maximum was 47 minutes.
Moen said two ambulance companies closed in recent years in the county, leading to longer response times.
“We’re having more difficultly in recruiting volunteers and getting people who are willing to serve with their community ambulances so in rural areas, your next closest service may not be down the road or on the next street corner,” he said.
And if you live in a rural area, Moen asked folks to understand it will take time to get to you.
“If you’re 45 minutes into the woods, it’s gonna take 45 minutes for us to get there,” he said.
Moen said there are some quick response services based in local fire companies in those areas. They send one person with medical training to the scene for immediate care while they wait for an ambulance crew to arrive and possibly transport people to the hospital.