Hinesburg Ambulance Vote

We respect and are grateful for our Volunteer Fire Dept, although we’d like to see more transparency in their budgets.

The ambulance issue is a distinctly separate matter.

As someone formerly associated with Fletcher-Allen and still connected to UVM Medical Center and its excellent Level-1 trauma center, I have some knowledge of how emergency transport works, on the ground and in the air. Expensive ER diagnostic, imaging, and stabilizing technology is being integrated into ambulances and helicopters, extending the ER’s work into transport. But for transport to offer effective emergency care, the personnel in the vehicle are the most critical element. Trained medical staff, med-tech. and transport all combine to enhance a patient’s survival chances. The vehicle is only one component.

As Will Patten suggested in an earlier post, a regional view is a more fiscally responsible way to meet Hinesburg’s current needs. Sharing trained Advanced Life Support(ALS) and EMT-Paramedic staff, and equipment makes costs predictable.

Does the greater Burlington area, from Milton to Richmond and Charlotte, really need ten police, fire, and rescue departments? By my count, including campus security, there are upwards of twelve law enforcement agencies within a ten-mile radius of downtown Burlington, 9 fire departments, and a similar number of stand-alone or integrated EMS services.

To question duplicative investment is not to diminish the value of the services themselves. If I have a heart attack, a break-in, or a fire, I, too, want rapid response. The issue is cost-efficiency not a service’s value. I believe we must look at common dispatch, community out-posting, and sharing regional services.

More focused on cost to our community and what happens in the ambulance than the vehicle itself, we’re voting against acquiring an ambulance.

Bill and Kate Schubart

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