October 19, 2018

Rescue service begins July 1

By Greg Duggan
Observer staff

Ever since a town ambulance service was approved with the municipal budget in March, officials have promised to launch the rescue service on July 1.

That promise now looks to come true. On Wednesday evening, after press deadline, the Williston Fire Department was scheduled to host a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for the new ambulance service.

“Over the past four months the Williston Fire Department has delivered as promised. And we’ll continue to do so as we move forward with our transport ambulance service,” Fire Chief Ken Morton said.

Morton said that, to ensure the service was ready by July 1, he followed a bulleted list of 50 items that each had to meet a certain deadline. Nearly each day, Morton said, he checked an item off the list.

One of the final steps came this week, when the Selectboard approved ambulance service rates at a meeting on Monday. The rates are $550 for a transport that requires advanced life support services and $450 for a transport for basic life support services. The service also carries a transportation fee of $10 per mile.

According to a memo from Town Manager Rick McGuire, the advanced life support service “often involves some form of cardiac support for the patient that might involve monitoring, defibrillation or an IV. In order to provide this service, employees are required to maintain a higher level of training than for other service levels.”

The municipal budget included nearly $232,000 for the ambulance service, though Morton has said he expects fees to cover all costs.

Williston purchased two ambulances for the rescue service — a brand new model and a used ambulance.

“The rationale for doing it is providing a better service in a more efficient manner,” McGuire said of the new service.

Ambulance service in Williston was previously provided primarily by St. Michael’s Rescue. Williston firefighters would typically be the first to arrive on the scene, and would then transfer responsibility to the responding ambulance team.

Under the new service, St. Michael’s Rescue, as well as Essex Rescue, will continue to support Williston if the town’s ambulances cannot respond to a call.

All this weeks News Articles