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‘Going for broke': Low staffing leaves only one ambulance ready in Iowa county

Calhoun County EMS continues operations despite voters rejecting a bid to make EMS an essential service


Calhoun County EMS/Facebook

By Bill Carey

CALHOUN COUNTY, Iowa — Low staffing leaves residents of one Iowa county relying on one ambulance to respond to EMS calls.

Last year, KCCI reported some Calhoun County EMS personnel left because of a change in pay. The number of current remaining employees is half what it was a year ago.

Now, a one-person ambulance crew serves as a backup and can respond when the other ambulance crew is on another call. However, that backup still needs a driver for transporting any patient to a hospital, KCCI reported.

“Our community is stressed, really stressed, really pulled to the max to cover what is needed,” Calhoun County EMS Interim Director Luke Winkelman said.

The county has not dropped any EMS calls, but there have been times when people are put on hold waiting for an ambulance.

Winkleman said the county is actively recruiting and will pay for training.

“The people that are still left are going for broke, emotionally and physically,” he said.

Voters turned down making EMS an essential service and raising taxes to better fund the service.