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Ambulance district takes state’s top honors

Of the 206 ambulance districts in the state of Missouri, the St. Francois County Ambulance District ranks high among the top 10 percent, and was recently named “Emergency Medical Service of the Year”.

The formal acknowledgement came back on Aug. 10, during a coference at Lake of the Ozarks. That’s when ambulance district Administrator David Tetrault picked up the award from the Missouri Emergency Medical Services Association. Each year the association takes a close look at all ambulance districts in the state and comes up with a place ranking for each. The top 10 percent of districts are presented to a board for consideration – and one is named as “Emergency Medical Service of the Year.”

New signs denoting the latest honor are being added to the sign out in front of the ambulance district building off Wallace Road. Some of the district’s more than a dozen ambulances already carry the additional logo. Others will be lettered in coming weeks, Tetrault says.

“I just thank you for all you do for St. Francois County. You surely deserve it,” said 106th District State Representative Dr. Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, during a brief ceremony early Wednesday morning. “This is a great honor for everyone involved with the district.”

Tilley made the stop by the ambulance district to deliver a signed resolution noting the ambulance service’s new distinction. He met with Tetrault, along with several paramedics, EMTs and office personnel.

The St. Francois County Ambulance District was formed in 1977. The service currently covers all 454 square miles of the county, serving more than 55,000 residents. The district’s ambulances and staff responded to more than 8,500 calls in 2004 alone.

One key to running an effective emergency response service is “response”. The district continually maintains no less than three ambulances in or ready for service at any time. Sometimes during peak hours there may be up to six crews on duty handling calls. Emergency crews work out of three stations, minimizing the response time to anywhere in the county.

Another aspect looked at in determining ranking of the state’s ambulance services is involvement and interaction with the community. On a business level the services works closely with the 13 fire departments in the county. On a public relations level, district employees are required to maintain a professional appearance, and urged to become involved in community activities outside of work. The district also participates in annual events such as Country Days, Kids Care and more.

The district provides a wide variety of services, including 911 response for advanced life support, and emergency transfers to area medical facilities from home or an accident scene. They also provide non-emergeny transfers from home to a hospital, hospital to home, or hospital to hospital. Such calls are handled after all immediate emergency calls.

The district also provides a wheelchair van transport service for those confined to a wheelchair and needing transport for medical treatment. An attendant is trained to provide oxygen while enroute on the transport van.

Tetrault said the annual examination board looks at treatment guidelines, equipment maintenance, employee work hisory on the job and other level-of-service indicators. He said everyone with the district is pleased to be named the best in the state for 2005.

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