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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many calls did McGregor respond to in 2018?

    2,222 total calls. We foresee an increase of approx. 5% per year in call volume, although there have been signs that the rate of increase is accelerating at a greater pace.


  2. How many EMTs do you have?

    We have roughly 60 active volunteer members. Nearly half are advanced life support (ALS) providers, including Paramedics and Advanced EMTs.


  3. How many ambulances do you operate?

    We have three Advanced Life Support ambulances available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. During large scale events, McGregor will staff up to 6 ambulances to meet the demand of said events.


  4. I like the idea of a volunteer organization, but I have a few questions:

    If you have to rely on volunteers, are your ambulances really "available" 24 x 7?

    While on duty, the majority of our members stay at the station, day and night, ready for calls. This gives the quickest "out the door" time possible. We have an enviable record of 99% availability. This compares well with the best services in the state. For the rare times when we are unavailable, Dover and other towns are ready with an ambulance.

    How long does it take the ambulance to begin responding when there is a call?

    1.18 minutes is the average time until an ambulance rolls out the door. Again, these times compare favorably with the best in the state.

    How long does it take the ambulance to get to the scene of the emergency?

    6 minutes 20 seconds is the average time until an ambulance arrives on scene (from when we are first notified) (in Durham/UNH, the average time is approximately 4 minutes). This is among the fastest ambulance response times in the state, including both paid and volunteer services. Not surprisingly, this time is mostly affected by how far we have to travel.

    Our EMTs live in the communities they serve; often one of our EMTs, outfitted with life-saving equipment, arrives and begins care prior to the arrival of an ambulance or fire department vehicle.


  5. I've heard that for most major problems, it's important to have a paramedic:

    Does McGregor have paramedics?

    McGregor has 14 active paramedics. This allows us to make a paramedic available virtually every time one is required (99.9% availability). We are often able to deliver two paramedics for major calls (e.g. cardiac arrest) or when two calls occur at the same time.

    Locally, over 57% of ambulance transports require a paramedic. In part, this is because only a paramedic can perform the vast majority of advanced procedures and medication administration.

    Paramedics are only one component of a successful EMS response. Other essential components include a first responder (usually not a paramedic) who arrives on scene rapidly and provides stabilization, as well as other EMTs who are part of the ambulance crew. McGregor has 20 Advanced EMTs. Advanced EMTs can also perform certain advanced life support procedures, but have a more limited scope of practice than Paramedics.

    Are there other paramedics available locally?

    Unfortunately, the local availability of paramedics is limited. While the local fire departments have excellent advanced life support providers, they have very few paramedics and, unlike hospitals in other areas, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital does not offer paramedic service.

    Durham Fire Dept. has 1 paramedic; Madbury Fire Dept. and Lee Fire & Rescue do not have providers operating at the paramedic level. Although there are other more distant agencies that have paramedics, they are further away and have little excess capacity to serve our communities.


  6. Are your volunteer paramedics and EMTs highly skilled?

    Many of our senior "volunteers" are seasoned emergency medical professionals who work (or recently worked) for some of the most highly-regarded EMS agencies and Emergency Rooms in the area, including:

    • Frisbie Memorial Hospital EMS

    • Exeter Hospital ALS Intercept Services

    • Wentworth Douglass Hospital Emergency Dept.

    • Exeter Hospital Emergency Dept.

    • Portsmouth Hospital Emergency Dept.

    • Boston MedFlight

    • Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team 

  7. How do your volunteer paramedics and EMTs maintain their skills? How do they compare to other paramedics?

    To remain highly-skilled, paramedics and EMTs must do two things: (i) perform a high volume of skills, and (ii) attend continuing medical education.

    Four factors ensure that our providers remain highly-skilled:

    1. We cover four communities rather than just one, yielding a high volume of calls.

    2. Many of our senior providers work for multiple medical services.

    3. Our continuing education efforts are dedicated to improving our medical skills; we do not divide our attention by focusing on other emergency disciplines.

    4. Our providers often pursue advanced-level courses beyond the minimum requirement. For example, while all paramedics are required to be certified in ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), several of our providers are certified at the ACLS-Experienced Provider level and two of our paramedics are ACLS Instructors.

  8. All of this sounds expensive. I thought one of the benefits of a volunteer organization was low cost?

    High-quality EMS is expensive. Nonetheless, McGregor is extremely cost effective for several reasons:

                 1. Cost to Taxpayers is Low

    • Most of the cost is paid by insurance companies.The communities collectively pay less than 20% of the cost.

    • Four communities share the cost, keeping the cost reasonable for all.This point is key, as the costs for two ambulances are the same whether covering one community or four.

    • Private donations fund a portion of our capital costs.

      2. Volunteer Organizations are Inherently Cost Effective

    • Thousands of free volunteer hours annually.

    • No dedicated administrative staff.

    • Overhead is exceptionally low

    • Volunteers thus save the communities over $590,000 per year. Capital costs excluded.



  9. I live in Lee (or Madbury or Durham). Don't we need to have our own EMS agency and ambulance?

    We ARE your hometown ambulance service. Our volunteers are residents of Durham, Lee, and Madbury and students at UNH. We are an independent, not-for-profit organization and we serve all of our communities equally. While we have historically been known as "Durham Ambulance Corps," we are not an agency of the Town of Durham and we are not part of the Durham Fire Department.

    Working together, Durham, UNH, Lee and Madbury have built a first-class EMS system that is extremely cost-effective. This system—in which a local first responder service (your fire department) is coupled with a separate "regional" agency (McGregor) providing primary EMS transport and treatment—is the prevalent model used across the United States. Standing alone, without a significant increase in cost, it would be very difficult for any of the communities to operate a high-quality, paramedic-level EMS transport system.


  10. I thought our fire department also has EMTs? What role do they play?

    McGregor and your fire department are both integral parts of your town's EMS system. While we work closely together to provide care to the patient, the roles we play are quite distinct.

    McGregor's primary role is providing medical care prior to and during transport to the hospital. Our ambulances are outfitted with the latest advanced life support equipment. For many life threatening emergencies--including cardiac arrest, lethal heart rhythms, severe breathing emergencies, severe allergic reactions, and seizures—we can "bring the ER to you," performing many of the procedures that would be performed in the hospital emergency room.

    Your local fire department performs several roles at EMS calls. The primary roles of the fire department at major EMS scenes include responsibility for safety, fire, rescue and hazardous materials issues. For example, at a car accident, the fire department may be engaged in extricating the patient from the wreckage, addressing fire and explosion hazards, and performing traffic control. In addition, firefighters that have been cross-trained as EMTs provide outstanding EMS first responder care.


  11. How long has McGregor been providing service to the community?

    McGregor was founded in 1968 in memory of "Doc" McGregor, who sought to improve EMS in Durham and surrounding communities. New Hampshire towns have historically enjoyed a strong ethic of community service. Our volunteer fire and EMS organizations are a fundamental part of the "core fiber" that helps preserve and maintain our central character. McGregor Memorial Ambulance, with over four decades of volunteer service to the community, exemplifies this ethic.


  12. What do your "customers" (i.e. Town residents) say about your services?

    Here's what our customers had to say in written survey responses:
    "When the ambulance arrived they were professional but more importantly compassionate and explained every move they had to make. They made me feel safe when they moved me. Each and everyone who was there talked to me and calmed me with their concern. I can't say enough for the care I received. God bless you all." McGregor Patient, January 2005, Lee NH

    What recent patients said about the quality of their care:
    99+% Strongly Agree or Agree that the crew was "skillful and competent."

    1. "Such competent volunteers"

    2. "All who responded did an excellent job of caring for me..."

    3. "I suggest a ride in a simulated injury situation for every one of [the town's leaders] to experience the excellence of care."

    4. "Always excellent"

    5. "Very professional, competent, and compassionate (ambulance crew)."

    6. "Excellent job."

    7. "I felt completely comfortable that I was being treated by professionals."

    8. "I feel honored to have been in your care.... I was very impressed by the expertise."

  13. Is McGregor entirely volunteer? I thought you had a few paid EMTs?


    1. We have two paid EMTs on-duty every day from 6a to 6p. One is a Paramedic and one an Intermediate/Advanced EMT. Note that, although they are not required to do so, much of the paid staff are also available when off-duty.

    2. They respond to EMS calls (when volunteers are unavailable). In addition, they perform double-duty, performing administrative tasks, maintaining the operational readiness of the ambulances and providing training. Like most non-profit organizations, McGregor requires a small number of employees to facilitate the work of the volunteers.

    3. Our board of directors are all volunteer.

  14. I understand some of your EMTs are UNH students. Are newly trained EMTs taking care of my family?

    1. Patient care is always in the hands of one of our senior "crew chief" EMTs. McGregor crew chiefs have, on average, participated in over 250 McGregor calls and have years of experience. In addition, they must have completed over a year of rigorous training and passed a "crew chief" promotional examination.

    2. McGregor ambulance crews meet standards that far exceed the state minimum requirements for ambulance crews, and, to our knowledge, are as rigorous as any in the state.

    3. Bear in mind that even a new EMT must have completed a state-certified course, passed a national written and practical examination and be licensed by the State of New Hampshire. Even with these qualifications, however, a new EMT cannot qualify as even a junior McGregor crew member without performing additional McGregor training and passing a McGregor written and practical examination. It would thus be impossible for any new McGregor EMT to be in charge of patient care.

    4. We are proud of our student EMTs, which today comprise approx. 30% of our volunteers.

  15. What other benefits does McGregor provide to our community?

    • Positive Relationship Between the University, University Students and Towns

      Every day, the commitment of our student volunteers enhances the positive image of UNH and its students. Moreover, it is one way in which the University gives back to the surrounding communities. McGregor provides initial medical training for scores of UNH students who have gone on to become doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals.

      UNH offers EMT and Advanced EMT courses to students and New Hampshire residents. These courses act as a crucial "feeder" for new McGregor volunteers. Many of the instructors for these courses are also McGregor members.

    • Preparedness for Large Scale / Mass Casualty Incidents

      In today's environment, prudence requires that we be prepared in the event that a large scale incident—whether accidental or deliberate—occurs at any of the large sports, entertainment, educational or transportation venues located in our communities. With our large group of medical volunteers, we can rapidly deploy the EMS personnel required to begin treating the ill and injured. A large, dedicated EMS capability frees our dedicated firefighters to focus on the fire, rescue and haz mat aspects of such an incident.

    • Core Feeder Organization for Seacoast EMS, Fire and Hospital Organizations

      With its unique focus on training and continuing education, hundreds of McGregor’s members have gone on to careers as EMTs, doctors, nurses, firefighters and police officers in the Seacoast area and beyond. McGregor alumni include:

      • Dr. Lukas Kolm, EMS Medical Director and Emergency Physician at WDH

      • Dr. Joseph Mastromarino, EMS Medical Director and Emergency Physician at Exeter Hospital

      • Dr. Dave Heller, Emergency Physician at Portsmouth Hospital.

    • McGregor maintains one of the most active EMS training programs in the State of NH. We provide training to our own members and help coordinate training for other EMS providers in the Seacoast area.

      • Extensive weekly and monthly training in-house

      • One of the top EMS educators in NH is a member

      • Key provider of EMT education in the Seacoast

      • EMT Refresher Classes

      • EMT Classes

      • Advanced EMT Classes

      • Emergency Vehicle Operations

    • McGregor provides public CPR, First Aid and Defibrillator Instruction Studies show that teaching CPR to citizens and teachers saves lives!

      • Pre-hospital Trauma Life Support

      • Public outreach and education is a key component of McGregor's service to the community.

      • McGregor offers frequent CPR, first aid and defibrillator classes in the community and in Oyster River schools

      • McGregor has approximately 15 AHA Certified CPR Instructors.

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