Oklahoma's Only Volunteer First Responder Program Ends In Glenpool
GLENPOOL, Oklahoma - A service many say is critical to the health of Glenpool residents is gone. The state's only Volunteer Medical First Responder program has been there for over 20 years.
The new company providing ambulance service has decided to do away with the program many say has saved their lives.
Glenpool's First Responder Program heads out when a medical emergency call comes in, and they often arrived minutes before an ambulance. As of now, the program is gone, and many people who live here are upset and want it back.
Corene Radford, 95, is bedridden. She suffers from COPD and seizures. Her caretaker and daughter-in-law Eliza Radford says she's lost track of how many times she's called 911, but every time a City of Glenpool First Responder has shown up on her doorstep.
"They come here first before the ambulance comes, and they take vitals," Radford said.
The instant she sees them pull up, she has sense of relief - but now that relief will be gone.
"Knowing they aren't going to be around, something is lacking with comfort for the patient and comfort for the care giver as well," she said.
Keith Robinson is the director of the first responder program. He orginally founded it because the city's old ambulance service didn't station an ambulance in the city limits.
The program has turned into much more than that.
"We also give personal care," he said. "Jenny, my first responder, will spend time with the patients and explains what is going on.
"She will hold their hand. When there's a death, she'll stay with them until the coroner arrives."
"It's served it's purpose for a lot of years, but it's just time," said Edward Fowler. Fowler is Vice President of Operations at EMSA Plus. He said the ambulance service has improved drastically, with an average response time of eight minutes.
"Progress hurts sometimes, but i'ts time to bring the EMS services in Glenpool to the 21st century."
Fowler believes Robinson's program is no longer needed and wants firefighters to take over.
"If a fire truck arrives with three people on board, then you have someone who can do compresses, one doing venhilation and then someone else to do all the other things," he said.
Glenpool caregiver Eliza Radford said she still feels more comfotable with the familiar faces of the first responder program.
"She wants to keep her life moving, and if there are no first responders, what are we going to do, what are we going to do," she said.
"We need them."
The city's attorney is still looking over all of this.