Pendleton County Ambulance has its leadership
The Pendleton County Ambulance Board saw its leadership structure receive a jolt in the spring when the Pendleton County Fiscal Court voted to increase the board positions from three to five.
The leadership structure of the ambulance services themselves received their own change with Greg Pollard being chosen as Director and Jody Dunhoff chosen as Assistant Director.
The change was a result of longtime Director Phillip Hart’s resignation in August.
Both Pollard and Dunhoff bring a long list of experience to the positions.
Pollard began serving on the Falmouth Fire Department as he made his way throguh Pendleton County High School. He joined the ambulance services in 1984-85 right out of high school and became an EMT in 1988.
He has been a part of the ambulance services through all of its supervisors and many incarnations, including the last several years as the Pendleton County Ambulance District.
He will fully understand and know the issues, problems and strengths of the ambulance district.
His first goal is to get the two trucks back on duty 24/7. While the board had set a goal to accomplish that by November 1, according to Pollard, that won’t happen.
He has tweaked the schedule and eliminated the a couple days in November but indicated the schedule still has seven days that only one ambulance will be on duty.
Both Pollard and Dunhoff acknowledged the dangers of operating only one truck.
“We have no help or no backup with only one ambulance,” said Dunhoff.
“It’s stressful to be the only ALS truck as you might have back-to-back critical runs,” she added.
“We will be fully staffed by December and should be good to have two full ambulances operating at that time,” he said.
The board seeking to control expenses have given Pollard the directive to stay away from overtime and without a full staff, he is unable to cover the needed shifts in November. To cover it, he would have to use overtime hours.
Once he is able to achieve this, it will bring the stability back to the ambulance staff that he is seeking to provide.
For Dunhoff, she has been through one major transition with ambulance services for Pendleton County and will be a part of the team to lead them through this one.
She was on a 24-hour shift and worked as the last paramedic for TransCare during her first 12 hours and the first paramedic for Pendleton County in her last 12 hours of the shift.
She has been working in Pendleton County as a paramedic since 2002 and drives from Burlington each shift to serve the residents of Pendleton County.
“Rural EMS is a different thing,” she said.
With the level of care changing, more advanced equipment and more training needed, she indicated that once you are invested, “it’s hard to get out of the career.”
She will be working her two 24-hour shifts throughout the week but alos working as the Assistant Director and Advanced Life Support Coordinator. Most of those duties will be fulfilled during her shifts but knows that some will call on her to work other days.
Both Pollard and Dunhoff agreed that they want to build a better relationship with the community through the schools, dispatch, sheriff’s office and fire departments as well as the one full staff nursing home in the county.
“We have a good foundation to build on,” said Dunhoff.
“I want to prevent another mass exodus of workers. They want to come here and work,” said Pollard who hopes to have the positions remain part-time instead of full time positions.
He explained that many of the staff are full time in other locations and come here as part time to pick up additional hours for a little extra money.
If the positions go to full time, he is afraid they will lose the part time positions.
“We gain nothing by going to full time positions,” said Pollard.
It is a position gained by decades of experience with the ambulance district.