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January 31, 2017

Iowa rescue squad, hospital works to reduce service delays

By EMS1 Staff

HAMBURG, Iowa — A local hospital and fire department is teaming up in an effort to reduce hospital patient transport times.

In a recently signed agreement between Hamburg Rescue and George C. Grape Community Hospital, the hospital will hire a paramedic and EMT to handle transfers, 911 calls and other duties at the hospital. 

In recent years, fire officials said the department has struggled to maintain volunteers for its rescue squad. Hamburg Fire Chief Dan Sturm said the largest obstacles for many volunteers is finding the time and having proper training. 

“About three years ago, it got to the point where we became concerned about providing timely services to the community and hospital because of our manpower problems, so we approached the hospital to work together on a solution,” Chief Sturm told the Hamburg Reporter

The department often responds to 911 calls, but is rarely able to complete hospital transfers; officials chalked the issue up to staffing shortages and time.

Moreover, hospital patients who need ALS during transport provides a further dilemma; those patients can only be transported by personnel who are EMTs or CPR-certified drivers. 

The department only has two qualified paramedics on staff. In turn, the hospital often relies on EMTs or requests mutual aid for 911 calls -- which could take longer.

"We believe it will prove very valuable for improving 911 response times and performing hospital transfers in a timely manner," Chief Sturm concluded, "along with keeping the health and safety of Hamburg and surrounding communities a top priority."