08/29/04 — Warsaw EMT vote Friday

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Warsaw EMT vote Friday

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 29, 2004 8:16 AM

WARSAW -- The town's rescue building will house full-time county emergency medical technicians.

The Warsaw town board voted four-to-one Friday to authorize the town manager to enter an agreement providing the building cost-free.

Eric Coman cast the dissenting vote, although the town of Warsaw had in a previous action passed a resolution offering the building cost-free to the county.

"We heard somebody's going to get $800 a month for a site," said Coman. "It's our facility. I've got a hard time just giving it away."

Some volunteer squads have reached verbal agreements to rent spaces, but some have to do work to their buildings before a final agreement can be reached. Warsaw's agreement will be the first written housing agreement with Duplin Emergency Medical Services.

Warsaw Commissioner J. Hollingsworth asked County Manager Fred Eldridge why the town isn't getting paid for use of the facility while others have been offered money.

Eldridge said the others are having to incur expenses to get the buildings suitable for accessibility to the 24-hour EMT service. For example, the EMTs will need separate sleeping quarters.

The EMTs in Wallace have agreed to provide their building at no cost, he said.

"Our approach is if they're incurring costs, we'll assist in helping them recoup the costs," he said.

"Looks to me like a fairness issue," said Hollingsworth, who ended up voting to authorize Maness to enter into the agreement with the county. He reminded Eldridge that the Warsaw town board has

Eldridge said the county's goal is to treat everyone equally, but not every situation is going to be the same. Some of the volunteer squads are non-profits that may or may not have the resources to adapt the buildings for full-time EMTs, he said.

If the power bill increased significantly, Commissioner W.E. Foster said he would want to negotiate for reimbursement. Otherwise, he said, he would favor providing the building at no cost.

The county has identified six places where paid emergency medical technicians could be housed. The other five are Faison, Wallace, Pleasant Grove, Beulaville and Chinquapin.

Eldridge said earlier that the county has no written formal agreement with any of them so far. The town of Warsaw is the only municipality that owns the rescue building property, and this will be the first written agreement.

The other buildings are owned by the private nonprofit volunteer rescue squads, and their individual boards would have to approve the agreement before the county could use the buildings.

Eldridge explained to the county commissioners in July the process he was using to identify places to house the EMTs.

The volunteers provided statistics about the time of day that calls came into their squad buildings and their response time. They plotted locations of the calls to identify high-density areas, looked at the volume of calls, the types of calls and the distance to treatment locations.

Town Manager Frankie Maness said the building is almost ready, and some boxes could be moved out of some closets in a short time.

EMS Operations Manager Curtis Brock told the board the EMTs can move into the building next week. "For us, it's just a matter of moving," he said. "We'll make every effort to start the first of the week, but I can't promise it will be Monday."