Vision for Rural Illinois
1:19 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Rural Residents Concerned About EMS

Rural parts of Illinois do not have adequate access to emergency medical services. That's the conclusion of a state panel assigned to study how the state can better serve its farm communities.

After months of surveys and meeting with people around Illinois, representatives from the Governor's Rural Affairs Council say they repeatedly heard from people worried about "the fragile nature of rural EMS."

"They are concerned that some day they will call an ambulance and there won't be anyone to come to help them," said Karen Poncin of the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University.

In cities, you're generally not too far from a hospital. But living 15 or 20 minutes out in the country means precious minutes can be lost waiting for help to arrive.

The state found all types of rural EMS are struggling -- public and private, paid and volunteer.

In response, the Rural Affairs Council says it's looking at training and staffing standards. It's also looking at holding a rural EMS summit.

The Council was led by Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon and the IIRA.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio