Ambulance service seeking members

Calls have increased 120% since 1992

WILTON – The Wilton Ambu­lance is serving more people with fewer staff members. Since hir­ing a full-time director in 1992, calls have increased 120 percent. But staffing levels are down.

Director Gary Zirpolo met with the Board of Selectmen on Monday to discuss options.

The service currently has nine EMTs, 10 paramedics, and eight people in training, Zir­polo said.

They are all volunteers and "they all work some­where else. And they will take an overtime shift at their regular job rather than come here. And I can’t blame them," con­sidering what they get paid elsewhere.

"There are many shifts with only one person on and we have to call for someone," he said. Even so, "response time is be­tween six and nine min­utes."

Zirpolo said the ser­vice averages "more than one call a day." And there are increased calls for mutual aid.

Service people are paid a stipend for being on call.

Zirpolo asked the se­lectmen to consider hir­ing another full-time person – he is currently the only one. "It is some­thing to look at for the long term."

That full-time person would replace several per diem shifts, espe­cially on weekends, and perhaps allow Zirpolo to take a vacation.

"I don’t see my hours going down," he said.

Asked what this would cost, Zirpolo said, "anoth­er $10,000 to $15,000 to my budget."

Chairman Kermit Wil­liams asked Zirpolo to "put a proposal together for the budget committee to discuss. It could pos­sibly be included in next year’s budget.

Zirpolo said he would also list calls by town – Wilton, Lyndeborough and Temple, the three towns served by the am­bulance.

He said he will adver­tise in all the local media and anywhere else he can think of.