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Rural Emergency Response

June 5, 2024

12

In this episode of Fire Headlines, host Samantha Didion delves into the topic of rural emergency response, exploring innovative solutions and systemic challenges. She is joined by two esteemed guests: our panelist Chief Bob Horton and Chief Mark Niemeyer, WFCA President and Fire Chief of the Boise Fire Department (ID). Together, they unpack the complexities of improving EMS services in rural areas, focusing on a recent pilot program in Minnesota.

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Explore the key takeaways from Chiefs Bob Horton and Mark Niemeyer of emergency response in rural areas on the latest episode of WFCA’s Fire Headlines Podcast.

In this episode of Fire Headlines, host Samantha Didion delves into the topic of rural emergency response, exploring innovative solutions and systemic challenges. She is joined by two esteemed guests: our panelist Chief Bob Horton and Chief Mark Niemeyer, WFCA President and Fire Chief of the Boise Fire Department (ID). Together, they unpack the complexities of improving EMS services in rural areas, focusing on a recent pilot program in Minnesota.

Chief Mark Niemeyer’s Perspective: Setting Up for Success

Chief Niemeyer discusses the critical considerations for launching a successful pilot program, emphasizing the importance of clear benchmarks and desired outcomes. He highlights the unique challenges of rural EMS, such as extended transport times, recruitment and retention difficulties, and the integration of new systems with existing services. By examining the need for measuring patient outcomes alongside response times, Chief Niemeyer underscores the necessity of understanding the overall experience of paramedics involved in the program. He also addresses the issues of attracting and retaining skilled paramedics in rural areas, given the low call volume and extended transport durations. Chief Niemeyer emphasizes the importance of integrating state-funded sprint paramedics with local EMS and fire services to ensure a cohesive response system.

Chief Bob Horton’s Insights: Systemic Issues and Solutions

Chief Horton offers a broader, more academic perspective on the systemic issues facing EMS, referencing W. Edwards Deming’s principles of total quality management. He examines how the current EMS system’s design often fails to meet the actual needs of rural communities, proposing alternative models to enhance efficiency and patient care. Horton highlights the mismatch between EMS design and rural healthcare needs, noting the financial and regulatory barriers that impact EMS funding. He advocates for exploring community care teams and other innovative approaches to optimize the deployment of resources and improve patient outcomes.

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