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Smithsburg EMS defends vehicle use

September 21, 2000

Smithsburg EMS defends vehicle use



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer


SMITHSBURG - Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services personnel want the public to know their company vehicles are being used appropriately.

Some residents have complained to the company's board of directors about seeing the ambulance company's Ford Expedition and Explorer at local businesses when they are not on a call, board member Judith Ferro said.

The vehicles aren't being misused, she said.

Ferro said it's difficult to get volunteers who can respond to calls during the day so the company allows some people who are employed locally to take the vehicles to work.

When an accident occurs, their employers allow them to leave work, and having the vehicles close by enables them to respond quickly to calls, she said.

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"Our volunteers work hard and we are lucky we have volunteers and employers committed" to Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services, Ferro said.

Smithsburg Emergency Medical Services doesn't have paid employees and must rely on its volunteers, Chief Jason Sturm said.

Sturm, who works at Hadley Farms in Smithsburg, takes an ambulance company vehicle to work each day and a few other volunteers who work locally do so at times, he said.

"People get confused when they see the vehicles in the lot. It's just a misunderstanding about how our system works," he said.

When daytime calls come in, he and others save time by jumping in the vehicles and driving directly to an accident scene, he said.

"When that siren goes off, we're ready to go," Sturm said.

Sturm said people may not realize the vehicles are used for purposes other than emergencies. He said volunteers often use them to run errands for the company, such as going to a store to by paper supplies.

Hancock Fire Co., which also does not have paid staff, has had the same practice for years, firefighters said.

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