MLFD Ambulance improves service with medication variance

The Emergency Medical Service operated by the Maple Lake Fire Department has become the first Basic Life Support ambulance service in the county to be granted a specific drug administration variance by the state Emergency Medical Services Regulatory Board.

Maple Lake ambulance director Scott Carriveau said the EMS Regulatory Board is permitting the administration of specific medications in an effort to improve EMS services across the state.

“This is going to result in better patient outcomes,” Carriveau said. “It’s going to make a big difference.”

To achieve the drug variance, MLFD personnel began the certification process in June with a meeting that included Maple Lake’s medical director, Dr. John Robinson, chief of staff at Buffalo Hospital, and Dennis Nothnagel, owner of Medics Training, Inc., which provides Maple Lake’s EMT training. Carriveau said at this meeting, standing orders were set up for administration of three medications and an education program for EMTs.

Medications that can now be administered by Maple Lake’s EMTs are epinephrine, for allergic reactions; nitroglycerin, provided to patients experiencing chest pains; and albuterol, for patients experiencing respiratory distress.

Carriveau said that starting in June 2003, Maple Lake will begin training to add subcutaneous glucagon to its medications list for the treatment of diabetic patients, along with training for the administration of intravenous medications.

Of the 28 members of the Maple Lake Fire Department, 20 are EMTs, with an additional member currently undergoing training for EMT certification.