Challenges


A motor vehicle accident on some lonely stretch of Montana highway. Two cars, four people injured. Because there is no cell coverage, it takes an extra twenty minutes for someone to find a phone to call 911. The dispatcher is new to the job (high turnover rate due to low pay) and not well trained, but she still manages to dispatch the nearest help in under five minutes. (A similar call in our county yesterday took seven minutes to dispatch.) Three firefighters from the local fire company respond in a thirty year old truck. It takes them extra minutes to jump-start the truck. The vehicle is slow and unwieldy because it is underpowered and dangerously overweight. When the firefighters reach the scene, they find two seriously injured victims, one of whom is trapped in the vehicle. They only have some pry bars and hammers. Needing to call for more equipment, manpower, and emergency medical technicians, they have a hard time reaching dispatch because of poor radio coverage. When enough people and equipment finally assemble, two hours have passed. The patient is now critical and still far from a trauma center.

 

These challenges are encountered every day in Montana. Whether it is due to weather, lack of tools, insufficient training, or just the vast distances we deal with, our first responders face an environment that is very different from the typical metropolitan emergency scene.

 

But the solutions are known. All that is needed is implementation. There is no good reason for us to put up with the deficiencies. Montana's first responders are caring, motivated people who will do the best they can with the tools and training they have. How can we make sure they have everything they need?


Montana emergency responders handle all kinds of calls. If we can improve their capabilities, we all benefit. Our responders will experience fewer injuries and death. All Montanans will get better service.

What would happen to our economy if we improved ISO ratings by just one point across the state?

~ Insurance premiums would decrease
~ Insurability would improve
~ Fire losses would decrease
~ Businesses would be more willing to locate in small towns
~ Montana's economy would improve, especially in areas that are currently languishing

What effect would improved emergency medical services have on Montanans and visitors?

Quicker response means less pain and suffering, reduced severity of injuries, better survivability, and quicker recovery.

What about universal Hazardous Materials capabilities?

Our state depends on tourism. Handling HazMat incidents quicker and better helps protect our people, our future income, and makes our state a nicer place to live in and play.