by Michael J. Marino
At the May 10 meeting of the Yellowstone County Rural Fire Council (YCRFC), Lockwood Fire Chief John Staley stated, “In a year or two, Yellowstone County could find themselves without [ambulance] transport,” and that, “…we’re really in a crisis here.”
American Medical Response (AMR) has provided courtesy services to the county for a number of years, but due to lack of staff, they said they will have to end those services in upcoming years.
Council members agreed that education and public relations work will be key in solving the problem. As Chief Staley put it, “Right now, only the people who have had to lie on the floor and wait 2-3 hours for an ambulance will understand.” Derek Yeager, manager of the 911 Dispatch Center, added that Montana law requires dispatchers to find an appropriate solution to every call, “…even if that means they have to call Denver.”