Taking a break from the world of politics
Many interesting non-political stories in Maine remain uncovered. And even in election year, with all the exciting political stuff going on, some of them are worth exploring.
One story that will eventually affect almost everybody is the emergence of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) as a revenue stream for communities. It's a new and encouraging twist in a story that has been developing over the years but has gotten little, if any, media attention.
Not so long ago most Maine municipalities displayed minimal interest in buying ambulances and training medical personnel. Emergency medical services in many places were manned largely by volunteers with basic emergency medical technician (EMT) skills. Money for equipment came from bake sales or by donations from appreciative patients.
Thousands of dedicated people spent lots of time giving of themselves, their money and and their time to build the statewide EMS system. Many of them trained as EMTs themselves and have been first responders when their neighbors have cried for help in the middle of a bitter cold and snowy night.
When they had a chance they begged their town officials to buy them a decent ambulance and spend for defibrillators and all the other new equipment that can save lives in medical emergencies.
The money came hard, partly because local communities had many other needs but mostly because few people ever recognize the importance of EMS until they -- personally -- need it. That has changed.
Towns and cities have now discovered that insurance payments have made transporting the sick and injured a profitable business. So much so, in fact, that more and more Maine EMS units can afford not only to buy new and sophisticated equipment but to hire full-time staffers including many at the highly trained EMT-Paramedic level.
An associated development has been the combining of fire and rescue services in most large and in many small communities. This would most likely never have occurred without revenue resulting from EMS runs.
Despite the fact that it is a "good news" story, the development of the statewide EMS system has never been satisfactorily explained in the Mainestream media. Almost everybody in Maine sooner or later will call 911 for medical assistance but few will really know where the help is coming from.
That's something that needs a media fix.