Commission considers options for county ambulance service

Clay Center Dispatch – April 16, 2014

With a new, taller, and larger garage being built to house the ambulances, the county is finally ready to buy a new ambulance.

On Monday Clay County Commissioners granted EMS Director Marvin Van Blaricon permission to draw up the specs for a new ambulance and to send them out to seven different companies to get a feeling of what a new ambulance will cost, according to the meeting minutes.

Commissioners also discussed whether they should continue to have four licensed ambulances. It would save the county quite a bit in insurance, licensing fees, and maintenance costs to cut back from four to three ambulances.

Van Blaricon said likely the department will replace or trade in one of the older ambulance out right. A second older ambulance could be housed in Wakefield as an unlicensed ambulance for a first-responder team to use. As it is, the department has difficulty training and retaining enough volunteers to staff the Wakefield location, and down-grading it to a first responder station is a good alternative.

Wakefield could continue to have ambulance coverage through the county’s other three ambulances in Clay Center. A first responder could provide essential care in that area in the 20 to 30 minutes it takes for an ambulance to arrive, he said.

Van Blaricon also noted that while it’s easy to take away an ambulance, it’s much more difficult to add one back should they need it in the future.

Van Blaricon also reported (according to the minutes and reports):

* Statistics for the first quarter of the year including 165 runs made in 2013 and 176 runs in 2014.

* Summer tends to be a busier time for ambulance services, with more people moving about, in accidents, and with health issues.

* Permission was granted to place an ad to fill a vacant AMT position within the department.

* Two new batteries were purchased from Avery’s Auto Parts for under $300 to be installed in the  ambulance that is housed in Wakefield.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster