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.