May 23, 2018 Community news from the prairie to the lakes  
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  City takes steps to keep ambulance

The Hoffman City Council members knew they would have some big shoes to fill after the resignation last month of Tony Schmidt as Ambulance Director. They took steps in the right direction at their April meeting to fill that position and keep the ambulance service operational.

Three members of the ambulance service, along with Aric Risbrudt from the Elbow Lake Prairie Ridge Ambulance Service, were present at the meeting to make some recommendations and proposed changes. Risbrudt met with the ambulance crew and came up with an outline of duties and ways to make the service more enticing to potential EMTs and First Responders.

One of the primary changes was to move away from a call schedule, and use a phone system. Currently, the EMTs are on call through a schedule that requires them to be available at specific times. This is sometimes difficult because of family commitments and other things going on in their lives. Sometimes they can get called away from family gatherings or can sit home from these and not get a call at all.

The phone system would not require them to be ‘on call’ at specific times. Instead ,they would receive a call through their phones each time an emergency situation arises. This call would also go out to First Responders and EMTs in neighboring areas. If anyone is available to respond, they would let everyone on the call know through a group message. Each person would be in direct contact with the others and the dispatcher, so they would be assured that someone is responding at all times.

“This system could have the potential of increasing response time,” Risbrudt stated. “Some of the people responding from other areas could actually be closer to the emergency than others. We are at the point where we have to start changing technology.”

The council members felt this was a good change and approved the new phone system at a cost of $99 per month. They also changed the pay to EMTs and First Responders from the on-call pay to a flat $50 per call.

Another item the ambulance crew will be addressing will be recruitment. They hope this new system will help, but also encouraged the possible hiring of a manager to oversee all the duties of the ambulance service. This person would be in charge of billing, education, recruitment, retention, payroll, purchasing, and more. The council decided to table action on this until next month.

Other business
Brian Bye from Widseth, Smith and Nolting told the council members that work on the curbs and gutters in the city would begin that week. He added that they will need to make sure all the frost is out before officially starting on this.

The council approved three new applications for lifeguards at Elk Lake, making a total of seven lifeguards to work at the beach this summer.

Two building permits were approved, one for a shop addition and one for a new deck.

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May 22, 2018