My name is Susan Smith "Suzie", and I have worked alongside as a team with Trinity County Life Support (TCLS) and all of the volunteers since 1981 as a Critical Care Flight Nurse. My first thought is that I cannot imagine Trinity County without the advanced EMS services they currently receive. This summer was one of the most tragic, traumatic injury summers I have experienced in your area. I have spent nights awake thinking about the trauma both physical and emotional/spiritual the patients and the care givers have endured. The level of care given by the crews is continually growing with education and desire to be better care givers. I know there would have been more fatalities in your area without the expertise of TCLS. The advanced practices that are being deployed in your area are life-saving. TCLS has become a critical care transport ambulance. They not only provide this advanced care to those that call 911 but also to patients requiring critical care services as they are transferred to out of the area hospitals for higher levels of care. As we all know this is much needed in your area with low visibility and the inability of an aircraft to get in. I personally travel to the coast frequently and go through this area. I am reassured to know that if my family needed medical assistance for anything, TCLS would be there for us.
When we woke up to our daughter, who was just 8 months old, having a complex febrile seizure it was like a nightmare. Living in our rural area is a blessing for our family, but having four children and knowing at best your closet emergency room is forty-five minutes away is one of my biggest fears as a mother. That night there was nothing we could do to help our daughter, having Trinity County Life Support (TCLS) saved her life. They were able to provide the medical care that she needed that moment, they were able to stop the seizure that had lasted over 10 minutes and showed no sign of stopping on its own. We had no one else around who could help for miles and miles. After that, first experience we found out that our daughter could have another seizure whenever she ran a fever. Sure enough 7 months later we woke up to another seizure. TCLS not only showed up again quickly but also remembered our daughter and her history and had a helicopter on its way. They were compassionate, vital, and efficient while helping our little girl. Knowing that we could rely on their help is so critical. While we hope that we won’t not need to make any more 1:00am nightmare calls to Trinity County Life support, we know we could need to at any time and I cannot imagine not having that as an option. It would be absolutely devastating to my family and to our community! Thank you to everyone who came to our rescue those nights! EMTs, Paramedics, Volunteer Fire, Cal-Fire, TCSO, and anyone else who helped in some way. And know our family will support Trinity County Life Support any way we possibly can!
It’s pretty fresh in my mind, even though it happened on 1-16-11. At about 5:30 in the morning I was at work when I started sweating, got “heartburn” (I never get heartburn) and had never had this feeling before. I got off work at 7, went home and sat down in my easy chair. About 7:15 it got a lot worse, I felt like something was sitting on my chest with a heat torch. I asked my girlfriend to call 911. They got there in 2 and a half minutes. The feeling of heaviness in my chest was increasing. They started to assess me and put the oximeter on my finger. I said “I don’t feel too good.” The next thing – I woke up on the floor. “What happened?” The Paramedic, Dan Layne, said “You had an event.” My heart had stopped and they defibrillated me. It was too foggy to fly that morning, and they took me to Trinity Hospital, where I received blood thinners. The ambulance then transferred me to Mercy Hospital where they put in a stent. My main coronary artery was plugged 98%. I was out of the hospital the next day, alive and feeling good. If they had not been there, I would not be here now. We just voted mail in ballot for Measures D and E yesterday, to keep this service. If not for the ambulance crew and service, I would not be alive. I feel like a lot of other people in this small town might not be here either.
I worked for Trinity County Life Support for almost 25 years. Firstly, as a full-time employee, including a period as the Operations Manager, then as a per diem employee (called when needed, covering open shifts, etc.) I was pleased to work with all the professional and dedicated employees for all those years. There were frequent changes of employees mostly because of the wages, and the fact we were only paid for 16 hours out of every 24-hour shift. At one time I had 2 outside jobs (on my days off) to make enough money to raise a family in Trinity County. The turnover was mostly because as soon as an employee could land a job the paid the full 24-hour shift, they would move on. Over the 25 years I have responded to every community in Trinity County, I can tell you that the people we helped were thankful for the service that Trinity County Life Support provided. With the miles of narrow, winding roads there are numerous accidents, and as the population ages the need for a fully staffed ambulance service will only continue to rise. With the weather of Trinity County, the reliance on helicopters to provide transport is not always readily available. I suggest that everyone consider what they would do without an ambulance when they or one of their family needs emergency care if these measures do not pass. The volunteer fire services are valuable as first responders, but they are unable to provide advance life support and transport of patient to the hospital. I recommend voting yes on Measures D and E.
My Ambulance AdventureChristmas Eve, 2018, my husband took me to Mountain Community Hospital with a cough that was rapidly worsening. I was quickly diagnosed with double pneumonia and treatment was begun. I was going to be admitted when they discovered I also had sepsis and would not be able to stay there. Although it isn’t contagious, I would have to been held in ICU and isolated from other patients. Many phone calls were made to the Redding hospitals but they were all filled to capacity. The persistent nursing staff finally found me a room at Enloe Hospital in Chico. By now it was dark and raining and traveling by air was not going to happen. So, the hospital called our Trinity County Life Support to transport me to Chico. My two escorts arrived at the hospital about 9:30 and I was readied for the long ride. I have to admit it had been an awful day and not the celebrating Christmas Eve one we had been expecting and I was not in a very good mood. In fact, I was darn right grumpy. But my wonderful ambulance drivers just ignored my mood and were very professional and caring. They tucked me in, strapped down the gurney, and away we went. I was awake on and off during the trip. Because of the rain and wet highway, they had to be cautious and several times use their siren. Before the siren was activated, I would gently be warned so I wouldn’t worry. There was some chit chat between the driver and my personal escort and I found that reassuring…like they were a team together, aware of what was happening around them, and together in the goal to get me safely to Chico as soon as possible. And I have to admit I was not a stellar passenger. I have back problems but wasn’t able to explain that to them. Just minutes of lying flat and my back began to spasm. I was warned, nicely, that it was for my safely for me to be still. Finally she understood problem and gave me the opportunity to wiggle and squirm and get comfortable. I so appreciated her sensitivity to my situation. And I was delivered to Enloe Hospital in Chico just moments before midnight. My two Christmas angels filled out the papers and then wished me a Merry Christmas and hoped that I would soon be in good health, and then off they went, back to their ambulance and to Trinity County. To say I don’t know what we would have done without them is an understatement. This was my first long trip in an ambulance and it was perfect. Their kindness, caring and personal touches were so reassuring to both myself and my husband. I felt totally safe and isn’t that what we’re looking from our health care professionals?
It was on May 1, 2019. I had collapsed for 7 minutes. I was gone. Whitney, off duty ambulance staff, was just around the corner at the tire shop. The ambulance was also right there, quick enough to save me, I know that. They worked together. I was defibrillated. I received early advanced life support care. Whitney stayed with me the whole time. He was great. They flew me out on an air ambulance, but our local ambulance stabilized me. I am alive and fully recovered because they were there, and they were all great. I hope you all will vote to keep this ambulance service alive. We need it.
For the past 27 years, Trinity County has been privileged with a locally staffed ambulance service: Trinity County Life Support. Due to growing financial constraints, however, the certainty of their ongoing service in the county is in grave danger. While the ever-changing environment of healthcare is an increasingly daunting path to navigate, assuming that the financial issues faced by our local ambulance service will somehow “work themselves out” could well prove fatal, leaving you wanting when services are needed. If you are assuming someone else will “figure it out”, you may very well end up surprised at what gets figured out for you. Not supporting Trinity County Life Support with a YES on Measures H & I will most likely result in an outside operation coming in to service Trinity County. A contractual agreement does not change the reality that Trinity County is remote and, as such, we will be the lowest priority on high volume days. No law of contract can create available help when help simply is not available. Consider, also, the well-being of Trinity River Lumber Company, employer of over 140 Trinity County residents. Recall the deep concern we shared in the aftermath of the devastating fire, wondering whether the mill would be rebuilt and the workers’ jobs preserved. Realize that a lumber mill cannot exist without a reliable ambulance service. As we breathed a collective sigh of relief when the ownership chose to further invest for the sake of the County, so now it is our turn to follow suit. As we work to build the economic viability of Trinity County by enhancing the outdoor activities available, ask yourself, “Who would select an area for hiking, rafting, fishing, 4-wheeling, boating or camping where there is no reliable ambulance service?” The answer is clear. Understand that Measure H creates a special district and Measure I provides the associated funding source. Both must pass simultaneously or neither go forward. If you are not a landowner, you have everything to gain with nothing to lose, making a YES on both measures your obvious choice. If you are a landowner, as I am, then it is true: we get to carry a little more weight of responsibility for the well-being of our county and its residents. I encourage you to consider the lives of those around you as well as the health and viability of our county’s economic future and count it a privilege rather than a burden to be of support to both. Every time you hear the sirens or see a Trinity County Life Support ambulance rolling to someone in peril, you will know that you helped make it possible for Trinity County to move toward increased economic prosperity and, more importantly, your generosity helped someone survive their worst day. The health of Trinity County and the lives of its residents depend on your willingness to support our local ambulance service. I urge you to join me on November 3rd in voting YES on Measures H & I.
Here are my thoughts on Measures H and I. I started working at the hospital in 2014 and moved here permanently a year later. It was my impression at the time and even more so currently, that the EMS units are the most valuable component in Trinity County’s emergency healthcare delivery. As an ER doc, I see the immediate treatment interventions of EMS that cannot be provided by any other entity. Airway control, administration of oxygen or glucose, compression of hemorrhage, fluid resuscitation, recognition and initial treatment of cardiac and neurologic catastrophes- these are the first few that come to mind. I have watched you perform while understaffed and under-funded for several years now, and despite that we have a decent crew of competent EMS providers. I am very concerned about these measures not passing as many people do not realize how unsafe it is to run this large county with 2 ambulances, let alone when one or both are engaged in transport. This also means paying for talent to stay in the area, not just bodies filling a seat. It's a small price to pay to have a medic at your door quickly treating what would otherwise be in their absence a bad outcome. Thank you for your years of compassionate care in the community. I hope people do the right thing for their families and their neighbors and vote this through
Douglas City Volunteer Fire Department Douglas City Volunteer Fire Department supports Measures H & I. We are a highly dedicated group of First Responders who has worked closely with Trinity County Life Support for many years. TCLS is there whenever called. They are not too tired to get out of bed in the middle of the night to administer care to a person having a heart attack or stroke. They go long hours sometimes without a break because the calls for medical attention keep coming. Without TCLS, response time will be quite different. Measure H and Measure I will prevent cuts or elimination of local life support ambulance service – including two 24/7 ambulances for emergencies. Trinity County Life Support maintains four ambulances in readiness, two staffed 24/7. One each is stationed in Weaverville and Hayfork. Passing these two ballot measures will prevent our communities from losing this lifesaving, essential emergency service. If we lose this service, help will be a long way off. This affects us all, patients and first responders. A patient that needs advanced life support sooner rather than later may have a poor outcome that could have been otherwise. TCLS is a professional and dedicated ambulance service that we need to keep. Please join Trinity County Volunteer Fire Departments in voting YES on Measures H & I. For $45 a year we can keep our Ambulance service. We need to save Trinity County Life Support. You need them! Sincerely, Douglas City Fire Department: John Holland, Chief Marty Mather, Assistant Fire Chief Ted Pierce, Captain Caitlan Mather, Safety Officer Mary Franke, Chief Medical Officer Tim Osborne, Fire Fighter Yancey Woodard, Fire Fighter
We all tend to take the Trinity County Life Support for granted until you need to call them. When you do need to call them you are thankful that they are there. We have had to make that call several times in the last year. While they show up when they are called the thing we may not be aware of is that their initial assessment and decision making guides what needs to be done for you. They are the ones who can call the chopper if that is what is needed and they can do that at the scene of the emergency. If they were not there the time it would take to get to the Emergency Room, if you can get there, may make the difference in the outcome. The ambulance service is an important part of the medical system in the County. We have a hospital, Emergency Room and several clinics, and doctors’ offices to meet our regular medical needs. If you or your family member needs help and you are unable to get to one of these facilities and you need to call the ambulance, be aware that they bring someone trained to know what kind of help that is needed. If needed they can call for the necessary air support or provide transport to the correct facility. Knowing what is needed may be the difference in the outcome. Please support Measures H and I the life they save may be yours or a loved one.