Routt County officials are working with Little Snake River EMS to allow Wyoming ambulances to operate in Colorado.
According to state law, out-of-state ambulance and EMS personnel must have Colorado licenses to operate here. The law could cause problems for Routt and Moffat counties, which depend on Little Snake River EMS, based in Baggs, Wyo., to reach patients near the state border.
It is easier and faster for ambulances from Baggs to respond to ranches in Slater, which is in the upper reaches of Routt County, and incidents on Colorado Highway 13 in Moffat County. It would take Baggs ambulance crews 10 to 15 minutes to reach Slater, compared with 60 minutes for Craig ambulances and even longer for those from Routt County.
On Tuesday, Routt County commissioners agreed to review copies of automatic aid agreements used in other counties. Such an agreement would allow Little Snake River EMS to immediately respond to calls in North Routt County.
Ron Taylor, Little Snake River EMS supervisor, met with the Routt County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday to discuss how to deal with the state law. Taylor previously had written a letter to the commissioners stressing that the law prevented the best patient care by creating longer response times.
"In my history of service, we have never not responded (to a Routt County call)," Taylor said.
Routt County Emergency Man--ager Chuck Vale said the Wyoming ambulance service responds to cases in Routt County about six times a year. He also said many of the cases came from those recreating in the area, not from residents.
Mel Stewart of Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue said one option was an automatic aid agreement, in which Baggs and Routt County ambulance services would be notified about emergency calls. Both departments would respond, and the first to arrive would call off the other.
West Routt Fire Chief Bryan Rickman said it could make more sense to automatically send Little Snake River EMS to some areas in Routt County. He pointed to areas in California Park, which is within his district, that he said would take much longer for his department to respond to than it would for ambulances from Wyoming. He said that during winter, some of those areas are not even accessible.
"The most im----portant thing we are talking about is patient care, getting the ambulance to the people as quickly as we can. It is in our best interest to make sure we support you and what you are trying to do up there," Rickman said.
Officials from the different agencies discussed the possibility of waiting about 10 minutes after receiving an emergency call from the northern part of Routt County to see whether the Baggs ambulance service would respond.
Stewart noted that Routt County could not enter into a mutual aid agreement as they have with other surrounding counties because mutual aid pertains to providing assistance to an agency that is overwhelmed or without assets.
Routt County Manager Tom Sullivan said county officials would review copies of other agreements. Taylor said he was heading to Moffat County for a similar discussion Tuesday with officials there.