Calls hit record high for county Fire/EMS
By Kevin Huelsmann, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
March 16, 2013
Jackson Hole Fire/EMS has responded to more calls this year than it has during any other season in the organization’s history, according to statistics provided by Fire/EMS staff.
So far this winter — December through the end of last month — emergency crews had responded to 333 calls.
By the same time last year, they had responded to 276 calls. In the winter of 2002-03, they fielded 243.
The same was true for last summer.
Fire/EMS responded to 610 calls between May and September, an increase of 71 calls from the previous year and an increase of 208 calls from the same time period in 2003.
Fire managers had to staff extra workers this summer to accommodate construction closures at the airport. They staffed an extra ambulance crew in case they had to transport someone out of the valley for an emergency flight.
Those extra workers have helped with the influx of calls, Fire/EMS Chief Willy Watsabaugh said.
Currently, the department staffs its station on Pearl Avenue with a medic 24 hours a day. There’s always at least two staff members at the station. The station also has back-up staff for additional 911 calls.
At the station on Highway 390, the department schedules a medic for 12-hour shifts, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In addition, there is back-up staff at the department’s station in Adams Canyon.
Volunteers and off-duty staff are paged when the department’s staffed ambulances are out on calls and there is another 911 request.
The agency took on 1,174 calls last year. It was the largest number of calls the organization responded to since 1980.
In 2007-08, emergency crews fielded 1,159 calls. In 2008-09, the number of calls fell dramatically, but for the last several years it’s been growing gradually.