EMS Director Paul Mathewson introduced two new paramedics to the county commissioners this week: Jennifer Kelly, a paramedic from Laporte County, and Tiffany Townsend, an ALS-certified paramedic whose skills will come in heavy use with the new certification.
Mathewson told the commissioners that the necessity of ALS is not determined until the paramedics arrive on the scene of a call and, based on symptoms and other indicators, pronounce the subject to have a need of Advanced Life Support. Mathewson said that these indicators can range from skin color to profuse sweating.
Commissioner Kathy Norem said that she feels the upgrade to ALS is “way overdue,” and says that the fire department played a vital role in getting the service where it is now.
“So we’ve got a very good system set up here in Starke County with their help, all the way now from first responders closer to the scene, to the fire department, up to the paramedic service,” said Norem.
Bridegroom agreed wholeheartedly with Norem, and said that the fire department seemed to take it personally.
“I don’t think, if the fire department had not gotten on board as heavily as they had, we would not be where we are. They took it very personally and ran with it,” said Bridegroom.
The commissioners also learned that there is no expected increase in expense to the county EMS, as an increase in billings is expected to make up for the increased cost of providing ALS.