The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) began in Star Valley in March of 1976. The first certified EMTs were members of the police force, hospital employees, and a handful of other public servants. The area served by this one ambulance service, Star Valley Ambulance Service, is the same area now covered by three separate services.
There were initially 12 certified EMTs, each assigned a permanent partner. One pair was on call at a time. The first ambulance, though not ideal, served its purpose. It was minimally equipped and slightly uncomfortable for the caregivers, though it gave the public a measure of security in knowing it was available when and if they were in need of care.
In the early 1980s, the town of Alpine asked for help coordinating an EMT class and chose to start their own ambulance service. The service area of the ambulance service was quite extensive and they felt that another service would better benefit the citizens of Star Valley. The formation of the Alpine service allowed all valley EMTs the opportunity to provide faster response times to a smaller service area. With the ambulance garage located in Afton the Star Valley Ambulance Service was operated under the direction of IHC until about 1997, when IHC decided that they would no longer handle ambulance services. Members of the Star Valley Ambulance Service decided to hold fund raisers, seek grant monies, and to do what they could to continue to provide this valuable service to the citizens of the valley as an independent group. They were able to do so for several years.
In the 1990s, the Thayne EMTs formed their own ambulance service as well. It was felt that three separate services would better serve the growing need for EMS services in the valley. The group in Afton was able to give one of their older ambulances to the Thayne group as their first rig, allowing much faster response times to citizens throughout the valley. The Star Valley Ambulance Service changed its name to Star Valley EMTs (aka Star Valley EMS).
In March of 2008, the Star Valley Medical Center (SVMC) and the Star Valley EMS merged. This merger benefits not only the hospital and the EMS group, but the community as well. The hospital manages the business portion of the operation, allowing the EMTs to focus more on providing better care to patients. SVMC is able to help offset the costs associated with the purchase of supplies and equipment. These are available at more reasonable rates due to the volume discounts afforded to SVMC as a larger entity. The EMS now has more “in-house” training available to its members through SVMC that was previously available only to doctors and nurses. This translates to better, more efficient patient care in the field. The EMTs are able to complete their volunteer and educational time requirements in the hospital by helping the nurses in the Emergency Department and on the floor.
Star Valley Medical Center Emergency Medical Services (SVMC EMS) provides a great service to the community. They are able to respond to patient needs in a timely manner, and with up-to-date skills. They are able to provide better communication with other agencies and services and to coordinate care in the event of a large scale incident or disaster in the area. As a Trauma Community Hospital, SVMC is able to use the EMTs for continued care of the delivered patient after a call. The EMTs can follow the patient and continue to assist the emergency room doctors and nurses. SVMC EMS provides transportation for inter-facility transfers as well. In the event that the patient needs to be flown to another facility by fixed-wing aircraft, they provide transfer assistance to the flight crew and patient to and from the local airport. SVMC EMS strives to continue providing timely, quality, competent, and personal care to each and every patient. This also reflects the goals and values of SVMC in patient care to the community.
The Star Valley Medical Center is pleased to announce that our EMS team is comprised of 21 EMT's with a combined years of experience in the Valley of 156 years. Our EMS team serves the Afton and surrounding rural service area. See our EMS Staff and info here. (Click on any picture to see an enlargement).