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Rushford looks at ambulance service needs

By Kirsten Zoellner

Fri, Feb 15th, 2013
Posted in Rushford Government

While Rushford has a strong, viable ambulance service, other communities are not as fortunate and their need may prompt changes to the service’s coverage area. The state sets the coverage boundaries for municipal services and a lack of rural service in the area, as well as needs expressed by at least two other local municipalities, might expand Rushford’s demand.

“We are blessed and happy with service we have,” noted Mayor Chris Hallum. “I think it’s best to be proactive about it rather than having it thrust on us.”

Rushford’s ambulance service is comprised of 21 trained volunteer EMTs, as well as three additional first responders, and has long been a reliable presence in the community. They currently serve the communities of Rushford, Rushford Village, Peterson, and several outlying townships.

One of the issues forcing this demand is the lack of volunteers in rural communities. “The requirements for being a volunteer just keep going up,” says Sarvi. “It’s a lot to ask. We’re blessed to have the strong group of people that we have.”

Unfortunately for Rushford, it too has hit a bump in the road. Current service director Julie Scudiero has tendered her resignation of the position to pursue other employment. She has held the position since January 1, 2000. Scudiero’s began her new job February 4 with Mayo Health Systems, Franciscan Healthcare at the LaCrescent Clinic. In addition to the 20 hours a week there, Scudiero will continue to be employed at Good Shepherd Lutheran Services in Rushford. “I’d like to continue being a volunteer for the ambulance when time allows. After 34 years of being an EMT, it’s been a big part of who I am,” she enthuses.

“I’d like to remind the community how very blessed they are to have the wonderfully dedicated ambulance and fire departments” she continues. “While other rural communities struggle, Rushford Community Ambulance volunteers will be there to care for the emergency needs of the community by caring for sick and injured people, teaching CPR/AED, First Aid classes, First Responder or EMT classes. All the EMTs and EMRs are highly trained volunteers who will carry on providing what is needed in the community.”

Scudiero credits others within the community for both her success and the exemplary ambulance service. “My mentors have taught me so much. Dr. Peterson, our medical director, Anne Roberton and Bruce Hovland, along with Ron Mierau; because of their vision for our community we have a strong ambulance service.

“I’d like to reassure everyone, the Mayor, city administrator and council that we will find a qualified ambulance director to continue what we all consider important by providing the best possible care to our patients and community. It’s been a pleasure being a part of this outstanding organization, the city of Rushford and its communities,” she adds.

Per the city’s personnel policy, the position will be posted for interested and qualified city employees. Interested and qualified current ambulance service volunteers will also be considered. According to Sarvi, at least one member of the ambulance service has already expressed an interest in the 30-hour per week position.

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