On February 20, 2014, Troy Zakariasen, co-owner of PACT EMS, delivered a letter to the office of Fire Chief Ed Button of the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department. The letter is open and to be shared with the entire community. The letter ran in the February 21st edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, and was also delivered to Mayor Lambert, the Moscow City Council, and posted throughout the community. The letter reads:
Fire Chief Button,
My name is Troy Zakariasen and I am part owner of Palouse Area Care and Transport (PACT EMS), a new ambulance service based here in Moscow. We are proud to operate in a community that has a volunteer fire department with over 120 years of history and tradition providing services for the City of Moscow and Latah County. On behalf of myself and the partners and employees of PACT EMS, we would like to congratulate you and the volunteers on your service maintaining your Class 3 Fire Protection Rating and Advanced Life Support (ALS) EMS Agency license. Both of these are commendable, and the fact that your agency is comprised of volunteers is remarkably outstanding.
As PACT EMS begins to serve this community, I would like to explain our origins and our intentions.
In 2012, while running as a paramedic with MVFD, I observed that Gritman Medical Center had difficulty—sometimes waiting as many as twelve hours—securing an ambulance and crew for interfacility transfers, that is, transferring a patient from Gritman to a specialty care facility, usually out of area. If and when transport did arrive, it would still take an additional two hours of transport to get the patient into the care required. Another observation during the eighteen months I volunteered with MVFD was the problem of retaining paramedics. The trend remains that these skilled and trained volunteers use their knowledge to seek paid careers elsewhere, leaving a void in the protection and services provided to this community … our community.
Seeing these critical needs, my partners and I have worked to find a resolution that benefits everyone, including your department. In establishing a private ambulance service with compensated personnel, we are able to provide timely transport for members of this community to specialized care facilities and retain paramedics in the area. The paramedics and EMT-Bs employed by PACT EMS are encouraged to serve as volunteers with Moscow Volunteer Fire Department and surrounding fire/EMS agencies, so that our local communities can benefit from quality emergent medical care. At the same time, the MVFD is able to continue the tradition of being an organization composed of volunteers, maintaining the legacy of being the state’s sole volunteer organization with an ALS designation.
We at PACT EMS recognize that our presence may cause some uncertainty in the ranks of MVFD. Emotions can run high, leading to confusion and hasty reactions based on hearsay, conjecture, and assumptions—not the facts.
The facts are that PACT EMS is here to provide reliable care to patients requiring transport to specialty care facilities, as well as offer supplemental income to local emergency medical practitioners through gainful employment. We will strive and continue to support MVFD in their endeavor to deliver outstanding emergent medical care. We look forward to serving alongside the MVFD, offering area citizens the best and most advanced emergency medical care available.
Chief Button, we invite you to meet with us personally to collaborate and address how PACT EMS can work together with the Moscow Volunteer Fire Department to best serve our local Moscow community and greater Latah County.