Ambulance company supports community
Dec. 11, 2012 — Sierra Medical Services Alliance (SEMSA) commenced service in August 2005 as the official paramedic ambulance service provider in Lassen County. During its tenure, SEMSA has provided a number of programs designed to help promote health, safety and life saving capabilities in the community.
At the Lassen County Emergency Medical Care Committee meeting held Thursday, Dec. 6, SEMSA continued its tradition by donating an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and first response Emergency Medical Services (EMS) bag to the Lassen County Haz Mat First responder group, and a second AED to the Susan River Fire Protection District.
According to SEMSA/REMSA Vice President and Chief Operations Office, Klark Staffan, an AED is “as good as a paramedic” or a cardiologist if it can be used within two to three minutes.
“We try to give out one or two a year,” said Staffan. “They cost about $1,500 to $2,000 but we are committed to helping people make an impact on saving lives.”
Staffan said SEMSA donated two AEDs to first responder agencies in 2006, one AED in 2007, another AED in 2008, two more AEDs in 2009, another AED in 2010, and now two more in 2012 — for a total of nine AED units donated to Lassen County agencies.
SEMSA also employs a basic life support supply on-scene replacement program to assist co-responder agencies in replenishing their basic life support medical supplies following each call with a SEMSA unit. According to the Annual Operations Report presented at the meeting, the replacement program has been well received by the first responder fire agencies because it saves a “great deal of money for the area fire departments.”
Additionally, SEMSA continues to implement the Standardized Immobilization Backboard Program, which provides immediate replacement of the immobilization devices on the scene of an accident, thus allowing the agencies to quickly become response-ready for the next call.
Staffan said maintaining one communal cache of emergency supplies eliminates confusion and reduces the need to restock necessities before getting back on the road. Susanville City Fire Department Chief Ted Friedline said he agrees the program helps because firefighters don’t have to worry about retrieving a backboard or other first responder items after an incident.
In 2006, SEMSA implemented a weekly community advisory column program designed to provide safety tips and potentially life-saving information to local residents via the Lassen County Times newspaper.
SEMSA also donates countless hours of free stand-by time of its ambulance crews at community events throughout the year. In the fiscal year between July 2011 and June 2012, SEMSA donated 108.5 non-dedicated stand-by hours at football games, auto races, school events, Lassen Community College, Diamond Mountain Casino and other locations in Lassen County.
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