Recently the Scarborough Fire Department was notified that we had been selected by Maine EMS as one of three Cumberland County emergency medical services tapped to assist the State with the COVID-19 vaccination of Maine’s first responders. We were certainly honored to be asked to help support such a critically important operation.

The Scarborough Rescue Unit was the first organized ambulance service in the State of Maine when local Doctor Philip Haigis helped form it in the early 1950’s. Today we are one of the busiest Paramedic level EMS services in the County and we employ one of the largest groups of licensed EMS providers who will be called upon to accomplish this important task.

Our EMS providers have been on the front lines of this pandemic 24/7 since the first case was identified in Maine. Our crews have cared for and transported dozens of COVID patients over the past several months while concurrently dealing with the stress and fear of potentially bringing the disease home to their families, friends and loved ones.

The start of this COVID vaccination effort turns the page on a new chapter of this devastating pandemic. It allows our providers the opportunity to help protect not only our coworkers here in Scarborough, but also our friends and colleagues all across Cumberland County. A task may of our providers are excited and honored to participate in.

As you have likely seen in the news, plans and vaccine supply chains are in flux and there is much work to do over the coming weeks and months, but I am confident our staff and our department are up to the task and I want to thank and recognize our members for stepping up to this challenge.

We anticipate the first vaccines to be allocated to us for administration in late December. These will be given to licensed EMS providers in phase 1A of the state’s distribution plan. Shortly thereafter all fire, EMS, police, and dispatchers will be eligible for the vaccine in phase 1B starting in January. There are over 16,000 first responders state-wide, and several thousand right here in Cumberland County that need to be vaccinated.

Preparing for this huge undertaking on top of our busy daily efforts to protect and serve the Town of Scarborough is a challenge in itself. There are dozens of logistical and administrative hurdles that need to be conquered to complete this mission successfully. I want to recognize the great work that EMS Deputy Chief Rich Kindelan has done in that regard. Rich is an active member of the Maine EMS Board of Directors and has been instrumental in our department’s COVID prevention efforts as well as this vaccination initiative. I can’t overstate how hard he has worked and what a great job he has done over these past nine months.

In closing, there are still many questions to be answered and logistical challenges to overcome as the mass vaccination efforts start to unfold, but I wanted to let the community know that our team of EMS professionals are honored and ready to meet this challenge.

If you have any questions about this article or any fire or EMS issue you may contact me at [email protected] or 730-4201.

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