By DAVID A. WILSON
In additions to other recent upgrades, additions and improvements by Mid-Mo Ambulance District, a new California base is in the planning stages. The new base will be constructed on a 165 feet by 202 feet lot just south of the California city limits. The new base will be out of the busiest part of California, south of the railroad tracks and close by four-lane Highway 50. The garage doors will be large enough to accommodate the bigger ambulances now in use by the district.
Also approved by the ambulance board is a new UHF radio system for Morgan County. The cost will be borne by the ambulance district and Morgan County law enforcement, since they will be the main users. A tower will be built at the district's land in Ivy Bend to ensure countywide coverage for the district. The system now in use was designed in the 1960s.
All ambulance reporting is done via computer and the Internet and is HIPPA compliant. This reduces the time required for filing out required forms and reports. To further improve this system, an upgrade in computer software has been purchased which will speed data reporting and retrieval.
Another service by the district is the Critical Care Transport (CCT), a large ambulance designed to be an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on wheels. Put into service in June 2012, it is used to transport patients to other medical facilities for needed care. An example of a patient transported via CCT would be a cardiac patient for which flying would be too much of a risk. The service was recently reviewed. Since it is paying for itself and is apparently needed, the service will continue at this time.
The district operates four bases full-time and one on a seasonal basis. Four ambulances and three two-person crews operate full-time, one at each of the bases in California, Tipton, Versailles and Barnett on a 24/7 basis. On a part-time basis, a fifth ambulance and crew is stationed at Versailles.
On a seasonal basis, a Quick Response Vehicle (QRV) with one paramedic is stationed at a fifth base in the Ivy Bend area.
The training of ambulance personnel has kept up with the times. The personnel worked on an on-call basis years ago and were paid based on how many calls they ran while on duty.
The present day crews are full-time, working two 24-hour shifts a week for which they are paid hourly for their implemention of their skilled medical knowledge.
The ambulances themselves are much better than years ago, both for what is on-board for patient care and the vehicles themselves. One ambulance has four-wheel drive - invaluable in some areas of the district during the winter months. Others have a device which, when operating, slings chains under the drive wheels for increased traction. The primary ambulance from each base is equipped with a Zoll Autopulse, more easily understood as an automatic CPR board. The patient is strapped to the board which does the CPR, freeing up the emergency personnel to engage in other activities to save the life of the patient.
Ambulance service in Moniteau and Morgan counties is a far cry from 35 years ago when, in June 1977, voters in Moniteau and Morgan counties approved the forming of Mid-Mo Ambulance District.
The training and skill of the personnel is much greater than ever. The equipment is greatly improved over what was available in 1976, with technological advances now in use.