By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
In February of 2008, the City of Monticello hired a new ambulance director, Tim Malchow. Up until that time, Malchow had 10 years of EMT and paramedic experience. He previously worked for Jones Regional Medical Center as well and in the Spirit Lake area.
After five years here in Monticello, Malchow has decided to take a new position in Minnesota. He praised his fellow paramedics and the Monticello Police and Fire departments for their hard work over the past five years serving the City of Monticello and surrounding communities.
“This community is very blessed and fortunate to have the services we have here, the staff and equipment,” commended Malchow.
In his five years in Monticello, Malchow was able to purchase a new ambulance with staff input into what would work best for their department. He said they looked at several manufacturers before landing on the right truck.
He said he also regulated the schedule with full-time and paid volunteers, which had some issues in the past before he came on board.
“I worked at establishing a great rapport with the other county EMS services,” Malchow said, “which wasn’t always the case.”
He also became an active voice on the county E911 Board.
“It was challenging,” Malchow admitted of coming into the department after the city dismissed the previous ambulance director. “The staff was very reserved.”
Before moving into the Monticello Ambulance Director position, Malchow said it was known that this department was very progressive.
“They had exceptional patient care,” he recalled.
In becoming a county department leader, Malchow decided it was important to purchase new equipment, such as heart monitors, that allows the department to send a patient’s statistics right to a hospital, wasting no time at all.
In working more with the staff, additional staff-led educational classes were offered locally. Ambulance staff lead a variety of topics to better serve the community.
“They are hands-on and interactive,” said Malchow of the classes offered right here in Monticello. “The staff talk, build friendships and can relate to one another. We have a talented staff and volunteers that can all offer different perspectives.”
Any job has its ups and downs, and for Malchow, it was no different. He said the hardest part of working in a small community like Monticello is responding to a call of a fellow employee’s relative.
“It comes with the position,” he said.
He recalled having to insert a breathing tube into the son of a local firefighter with everyone looking on.
“It’s a lot of stress,” Malchow admitted. “You just hope all of your training pays off.”
In one particular accident along Highway 38 north of town, Malchow recalled the outcome of that instance.
“Everyone was so well organized,” he said. “Everything just fell into place between when the first ambulance arrived on scene and the victim was transferred to the hospital. Everyone worked together.” Malchow said this accident is just one example of many that show the cooperation of the ambulance, police and fire departments.
Malchow said it’s great to see the relationships with the other city departments are better than in the past.
“We all have to work together and train together for many instances,” he said.
As director, Malchow said it was hard to not blur the line between director and co-worker. “I tried to remain objective,” he said when handling such issues as employee complaints.
“Personnel issues were the most challenging part of the job,” he admitted.
As director, Malchow’s job consisted of maintaining the schedule for staff and volunteers, maintaining protocol and policies and handling employee issues should they arise. In the case of protocol, Malchow said he worked to rewrite the operation policies to have them comply with the state.
Malchow has also been seen covering many accidents and other calls throughout his five years here.
“This line of work is just something I liked to do,” he said of being a paramedic. “It’s different every day. Every day is a challenge. You have to always think on your feet.”
Within the last six months, Malchow took on additional duties as a volunteer Monticello firefighter. He served on the fire department in Spirit Lake, so he said he didn’t want all that training to go to waste.
“I applied when I moved here five years ago,” he said of the MFD. It took that long for him to move his way up the ladder onto the department. When he’s not on call as ambulance director, he is able to respond to a fire call, much like the downtown fire in late November.
“I use both skills when doing my job,” he said of being part of the ambulance and MFD. “Both require critical thinking skills.”
In responding to the downtown fire, Malchow said at first, when the information came across the scanner, he thought the fire couldn’t possibly be that bad.
“We quickly realized how big the fire was,” he said as one of the first trucks on scene during the early morning fire.
In his absence, Malchow hopes to see the next director and department carry on with their continuing education classes and trainings. Most recently the department trained for handling a mass gathering of people, similar to an issue that could arise at the Jones County Fair. They also worked on handling a major disaster like a tornado ripping through town.
“I’ve thoroughly loved this job!” said Malchow. “It was a trying decision I had to make in leaving.”
Malchow knows the department will continue on with providing “excellent healthcare to the Monticello and area communities.
“We’re an essential function of any community,” he said. “We have experienced staff and the volunteers are instrumental in what we do.”
In Malchow’s absence, paramedic Bill Bartachek will serve as Lead Paramedic. The city is advertising and pursuing a replacement for Ambulance Director.
PHOTO: Tim Malchow resigned as Ambulance Director for the Monticello Ambulance Service to take a job in Minnesota, closer to his family. Malchow has been with the department for just about five years. He praised the staff and volunteers with the Ambulance Service for their dedication and service to the Monticello and surrounding communities. (Photo by Kim Brooks)