Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, July 19, 1999

New HL ambulance serves community better

By Andrea Vargo

The Howard Lake Fire Department has a new ambulance, and if you attended Good Neighbor Days, you may have seen it on display.

The new vehicle has more room and better equipment than the old one.

"It rides better," said City Councilman Don Danford.

Tom Diers, the ambulance director, said it has a heavier chassis, so it does ride better and corners better.

In a tour through the interior, there is a side stretcher, as well as the center stretcher.

Room to move around a patient is an added advantage, said Diers. An emergency medical technician (EMT) can do ventilation and oxygen on one side, and another EMT can work on the other side without getting in each other's way.

"Anyone who is unconscious gets an airway," said Diers.

The inside is filled with storage compartments for everything from neck braces and bandages to resuscitation bags and obstetric kits.

A workspace for doing paper work is on the side with all the digital readouts for the oxygen tanks, the electric suction device, and a cell phone.

"Sometimes we have to call the emergency room, if we can't get them on the radio, and they are really overwhelmed," Diers said.

As you look at the ceiling, you notice there are some odd looking metal things with Velcro straps. These are holders for IV bags, but only a paramedic can insert an IV.

Shining down on the work area are "lots of really bright lights, so the team can see what they are doing," said Diers.

Storage doors open to reveal a baby car seat and a teddy bear.

"Small children are the hardest to deal with. We hope we never have to use this stuff," said Diers.

Most patients enter an ambulance in a highly stressed state, and Diers said the crew tries to ease the tension by explaining what is going on and what they are doing for the patient.

Making decisions on what to do for the patient is a team effort, said Diers.

"When we get a crew together, we feed off each other. That helps to determine the best approach," he said.

The people from the fire department become part of the team, when they are needed, Diers said.

They can perform triage and determine the order of treatment for the ambulance crew.

"We're at 22 volunteers, and everyone is an EMT. Denny Bobrowske is a paramedic, but according to law, he is not allowed to do much out of this ambulance. It is licensed as basic life support, not advanced life support," he said.

One of the more dangerous things the crew can get into is a domestic situation, noted Diers.

"Domestics are bad. You don't know what can happen, and who has a gun or knife," he said.

The ambulance crew has an average of three calls per week, and everyone is well prepared to do their jobs, said Diers.

"It's a job you hope you don't have to do," he said.

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