Editor’s note: Sixth in a series of stories reviewing 2013 through various departmental statistics and numbers.
The three full-time shifts and the part-time personnel who work at the St. Clair Ambulance District kept busy again in 2013. In fact, an ambulance and crew responded to an average of slightly more than seven calls per day last year.
Chief Jamie Clayton shared the department’s 2013 statistics and assignment analysis with The Missourian. The overall number of service calls last year totaled 2,535, which was almost identical to 2012, when district personnel responded to 2,539 calls.
“We stayed fairly close to that 2,500 mark again last year,” said Clayton, who was promoted to chief in October after Bill Hollo retired. “It was another busy year last year.”
In fact, Clayton said that there were 84 times in 2013 when St. Clair had to rely on mutual aid from another department because all three of its ambulances were out at once.
“We are a very busy department,” he said.
The total number of service calls in 2011 was 2,386.
Just like the St. Clair Fire Protection District, ambulance personnel have no say in the number or type of calls in which it responds.
“It’s just how it is from year to year,” Clayton said. “We respond to whatever we’re called, no matter what it is.”
According to the numbers, the most common ambulance call in 2013 was for a general sick case. There were 392 calls in that category, which computes to 15.5 percent of the overall total.
Next in line were calls for “breathing problems” at 268, or 10.6 percent. Third were motor vehicle accidents at 256, or 10.1 percent.
Rounding out the top five were transfers, 251, 9.9 percent; and calls for chest pain, 201, 7.9 percent.
Those top five categories add up to 54 percent of all calls made by the local EMTs or paramedics last year.
Making up the rest of the 2013 top 10 were calls for falls, 192, 7.6 percent; psychiatric or suicidal cases, 130, 5.1 percent; abdominal pain, 92, 3.6 percent; convulsions or seizures, 67, 2.6 percent; and unconscious person or fainting, 64, 2.5 percent.
In 2012, “sick cases” also were the most common call. There were 403 of them that year, which comprised almost 16 percent of total calls.
Second were “breathing problem” calls at 240 followed by traffic accidents, 238; cardiac-related problems, 224; transfers, 206; falls, 175; psychiatric or suicidal cases, 141; abdominal pain, 101; convulsions and seizures, 94; and move-ups to other departments, 64.
Clayton said each of his three ambulances averages 20,000 to 30,000 response miles per year.
St. Clair has three full-time crews on duty 24 hours per day, seven days per week. Two of those crews are housed in St. Clair and one is in Lonedell. The chief said the third full-time crew was added several years ago.
“We’ve got a great bunch of people here,” Clayton said. “I couldn’t be any prouder of them than what I am. They put all of their efforts in their jobs. It’s nice to lead a force like this.”
There are 12 full-time EMTs and paramedics employed by the St. Clair Ambulance District as well as 32 part-timers.
Clayton also had high praise for his board of directors.
“It’s a fantastic board,” he said. “They always want to make sure we have everything we need.
“It’s just a great group all the way around.”