A report has been submitted to the Plattsmouth City Council recommending the city consider hiring the equivalent of 2.5 fulltime paramedics and EMTs to cover the weekday daytime hours due to a shortage of volunteers.
Cassgram talked with the chief officers of three other area rescue departments, those reports follow:
The Weeping Water rescue squad had not missed a call since 1969, but has missed two this year and had to summon mutual aid. While that’s still a tremendous service record, Weeping Water Rescue Captain Chuck Cook has concerns about the current situation and what the future may bring.
"It’s during the days on weekdays when we’re really hurting," says Cook. Generally, only two individuals, himself and another are available then. One other individual is going through EMT training now and there is another with some weekday daytime availability.
With the Avoca quick response team disbanding this year, Weeping Water and Avoca officials worked out a plan where Avoca district volunteers can join Weeping Water Rescue and Cook says that is adding a couple more members.
Weeping Water averages about 130 calls a year. It used to be around 250 when Elmwood and Murdock were part of the rescue district but Elmwood has had its own rescue service for a few years now.
Louisville has been able to maintain the status quo with its rescue department. Personnel average about 20 on the fire and rescue department and about half the membership has EMT certification, according to Rescue Captain Levi Krause. "It’s seems we lose two or three members, but then we’re fortunate to add two or three."
Louisville handles about 125 rescue calls a year and covers an area that goes past Cedar Creek to the east, South Bend to the west and to Waverly Road to the south.
The department has some members whose work shifts and days vary, and that helps with daytime coverage. It’s only once in awhile that a mutual aid call is placed to a nearby department.
But even though the department is "sitting pretty well," Krause said getting an extra two or three members now would make a big difference. So the Louisville department is devising a game plan to make it a priority to increase membership. The fire board and city council need to be parts of that effort and "take the bull by the horns too," says Krause.
Direct conversations serve as the best recruitment tool and Krause says there’s no sugarcoating the pitch: "There’s a significant time commitment, but you make time because you want to do it."