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York Ambulance Association Interview:
WRP sat down with Karen Tucker, Chief of Operations to learn more.
WRP: Why did you decide to pursue this career?
KT: My dad was a firefighter and I really like helping people. Also, I was influenced by the show “Emergency.” I was 16 when I started a Junior service in my town.
WRP: How does one become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)?
KT: The state offers classes and you have to put in 400 hours between classes and internships which are called “Ride Times.” There are three levels: Basic EMT, Advanced EMT, and Paramedic.
WRP: What does a typical day look like?
KT: The days start out the same. We have a crew on 24-7 so the incoming team gets feedback from the crew that’s leaving. We check and clean the ambulances and make sure the building is clean. We have an apartment upstairs with sleeping quarters, kitchen, and living room and that gets cleaned every day, too. After that, we are on standby. Time is filled with studying or office work.
WRP: Is this your busy season?
KT: Yes. In the summer, the population explodes and we see a rise in calls from 3-4 a day to 10-12 a day.
WRP: What do you want people to know about YAA?
KT: A lot of people don’t realize that it is a private non-profit. We get some money from the town, but is nowhere near what it costs to maintain the services we provide.
WRP: What are the benefits of it being a non-profit?
KT: A lot of people have grown up in town that work for us so they go above and beyond doing extra things that a for- profit won’t do because we truly are part of the community.
WRP: What is the goal of the capital campaign?
KT: Our needs are ongoing. Currently, we are in need of a new ambulance. The ones in South Berwick are from 2002 and 2010. York’s are from 2006 and 2010. We have had one remounted where the box is taken off and a brand new chassis is installed. It is less expensive to do that than a brand new ambulance which costs about $265,000 today, but that costs around $100,000 so the need for funding is very real.
WRP: So any amount helps?
KT: Yes. We appreciate any donations no matter how large or small.