FEATURED SPEAKER – November 29, 2011

Boundary Volunteer Ambulance

Ken Baker, EMS Chief




Several of our members introduced Ken Baker as our program speaker because he's well known in the community, having grown up in Bonners Ferry, graduating from Bonners Ferry High School.  Ken recently assumed the leadership position as EMS Chief of the Boundary Volunteer Ambulance. 

Boundary Volunteer Ambulance (BVA) is a 501 C 3 nonprofit organization providing emergency medical services (EMS) support to individuals in Boundary County including facility-to-facility transfers, extrication services, community education (CPR, AED and first aid classes), and the “Vial of Life” program.  With an annual operating budget of $200,000, the organization bills third party insurers for services rendered and recovers most of its operating expenses. It operates 5 ambulances and 2 service vehicles stationed at 4 locations in the county.        


One of the Newer Ambulances in the Boundary Volunteer Ambulance Fleet

The current needs of BVA are for additional funding and volunteers.  Although there about 8-10 active members in the organization, BVA needs volunteers to serve on the board of directors and to help out as drivers, fund raising events, etc.  Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) are classified according to their level of training – basic, intermediate or advanced.  As of October 8, 2011, BVA had a roster of 38 individuals composed of 1 chief EMT, 17 basic EMTs, 4 advanced EMTs, 6 on probationary status, 4 students, and 6 drivers.  Training for a basic EMT could cost the student up to $1,800 for 150 hours of training plus the additional training necessary for hazmat classes, etc.

Walt Kirby discussed the proposal for a taxing district to support the ambulance service in the county.  The funding, the number of active volunteers, and the level of sophistication concerning the equipment and apparatus are dismal at best. The situation is ‘overwhelming’, according to Walt.  He described the Idaho Code as it relates to ambulance services. The commissioners are charged with providing ambulance services. This is currently accomplished at a cost of approximately $8,000/year, totally unsatisfactory. They can also create a taxing district and place the provision of ambulance services on the tax rolls.  Currently the commissioners will be analyzing the data that would, of necessity, include employed EMTs and will be considering candidates for a dynamic board of directors who know and understand operations.  



Standby - Demotion Derby


Several questions were raised relating to these matters of life or death.  Because ambulance service is so critical to the matters of life or death, it would appear that a taxing district would gain wide public support.  If the funds are not there to support the services, if the personnel are not trained adequately or are not actively involved, and/or if the equipment and other apparatus is inadequate, outdated and obsolete, there appears to be a need to move forward with a plan to correct the deficiencies associated with the current situation.

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