Challis has an impressive array of volunteers who help provide high-quality care. Last year, Challis ambulance volunteers responded to 287 calls. While not a huge number, Dawn Rae, a community health paramedic, points out that “every call impacts a person. That call is the most important call (EMTs) are going on.”
"Volunteers are always needed", says Executive Director Steve Rembelski. Currently, 15 people volunteer with the Challis ambulance service and bring differing levels of training to their posts. “We can always use more volunteers,” Rae said. While most ambulance volunteers have EMT training, some who only drive the ambulances may not be trained as EMTs. People don’t need to come to the table with any particular experience or training to volunteer. They undergo a background check and are expected to complete either an EMT training class or another type of emergency training class. Ambulance volunteers are asked to sign up for a minimum of 48 hours a month of on-call time. People can sign up for short stretches of time — a few hours — to reach that 48 hours if that works for them, she said. The goal is to have two EMTs and a physician’s assistant on call all of the time. Volunteers receive a stipend for every call they respond to.
An EMT training class was recently completed in Challis. Rae and Rembelski hope to offer a class every year, as long as people want to participate. The course runs for three months, so people have to be willing to commit some time, Rae said. Exactly when the next class will be scheduled hasn’t been determined, she said, but if enough people were interested now, she’d start a class soon.
The local ambulance area stretches beyond Challis to Elk Bend, Torrey’s Burnt Creek Inn, Willow Creek and Pahsimeroi. Two ambulances are based at the clinic. Volunteers respond to the clinic to get an ambulance and go to the patient.