The North Fork Ambulance Association (NFAA) visited the Crawford Town Council on Nov. 7. Kathy Steckel, NFAA director, and her husband, Rick, addressed their concerns that the NFAA in Crawford is in need of volunteers.
"Crawford is in particular need of more EMTs and drivers," Kathy said. "A lot of our crew has been on quite a number of years and we're looking towards the time when some of those may back down from volunteering. We need people to step up."
NFAA pays the $1,500 tuition for the required EMT class and asks for those who want to take the training to commit to one year of service after completing EMT certification.
NFAA has two 12-hour shifts starting at 5:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. On call pay is $1.50 an hour which is about $18 a shift. There is an additional small amount for ambulance runs to the hospital.
"If we don't have enough people, the ambulance will go away," Kathy said.
The ambulance service was formed in 1969. Today there are two ambulances in Hotchkiss, two in Paonia and one in Crawford.
Other than the membership-based ambulance service manned by volunteers, Crawford, Paonia and Hotchkiss could not afford to have an ambulance service.
"There are not enough calls up here to attract a private system to provide 24/7 service," Rick said. "With a tax district, it would be nine to 10 times the amount of the mill levy that they have for the Delta ambulance district."
If the North Fork Valley became a taxing district for ambulance service, Kathy explained, there would only be one or two ambulances for the entire district and none would be in Crawford. All three towns would be served from a central location, rather than each town having their own ambulances and crews.
"It's a service that just can't be replaced," Kathy said.
Crew numbers are up in Hotchkiss, but Paonia's crew numbers are declining. The ambulance service is recruiting volunteers for all three towns.
Volunteers must be at least 18 years old. The new EMT class starts in January.
In Crawford, the NFAA has 100 to 120 ambulance calls a year and seven to 10 calls a month. Hotchkiss runs 30 to 40 calls a month and Paonia 40 to 45 calls a month. That totals about 700 calls a year for their entire 1,500 square mile service area which reaches to Curecanti Creek, the top of McClure Pass and west to Payne Siding.
NFAA is funded through memberships, donations and non-member fees.
Those with questions may call the North Fork Ambulance Association office at 872-4303.
Their website at www.northforkambulance.com has information and a brand new video. They are also on facebook.blog comments powered by Disqus