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Behind the Partnerships: Rocco Roncarati, American Medical Response

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by James HillLast summer, Rocco Roncarati and his company American Medical Response (AMR) donated a fully functional ambulance to PCC’s Emergency Medical Technology department at the Cascade Campus. The donation will help students train with a state-of-the-art vehicle. Rocco Roncarati.Roncarati is the operations manager for AMR’s local operations, the sole provider of 9-1-1 services in Multnomah County. AMR specializes in emergency 9-1-1 calls, non-emergency transports and manages emergency medical systems for municipalities. His division has 172 employees who work in a dispatch center, maintenance yard and in ambulance response. There are 33 ambulances in his operation and as many as 22 of them are in use at any given time.An ambulance costs about $75,000 and another $75,000 to outfit with medical supplies and equipment, he says. A typical ambulance has two paramedics who will typically respond to six to seven calls in a 12-hour shift. Roncarati, a California native who has three children, started his current job last September. He has been a paramedic since 1992 and was on duty during the big Loma Linda earthquake in Los Angeles. He became a supervisor with AMR in 1996, and served as operations manager for Clackamas County in 2002.Why do you donate ambulances?Roncarati: We are regulated and our ambulances can have only so many miles. Once they go over their allotted mileage, they are retired. Usually we’ll sell these older vehicles but we also donate to search and rescue teams or colleges like PCC. They are really nice ambulances and they go through rigorous maintenance schedules.What is it like for a paramedic at AMR in a typical day?Roncarati: You never know what to expect. You have an idea but there is always a curveball. I love it because it isn’t the same old thing every day. You get to get out and go into somebodys life and help them out.Do you have certain standards you must meet?Roncarati: Yes, we have to respond to all of the calls within eight minutes, 90-percent of the time. If we dip below that, the county will fine us. Our average is about 92 percent. I look at our figures from week to week and at seasonal trends. The volume and rates really depend on certain days. Last year, we had huge volume days due to the snowstorm.What is your favorite hobby?Roncarati: I spend a lot of time decorating my house with lights for the holidays. I’m always the first one to put them up. I love the holidays and spending time with my family.When is the busiest time for your company?Roncarati: The holiday traffic makes it worse. Our response time during this period is critical. This time of year, people can be stressed or depressed and the homeless population is dealing with the cold and have no place to go because the shelters are full. How much of your staff are PCC graduates?Roncarati: About 20 to 25 percent of our staff are PCC graduates. So we really rely on PCC to staff our workforce. Without it, wed have a shortage of workers.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »

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