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County eyes improving EMS coverage

By JIM MAURER
STAFF WRITER
TIFFIN — Last year, Ken Majors, Seneca County Emergency Medical Service director, recognized volunteers for their efforts by visiting the various locations.
Now he and Commissioner Jeff Wagner will be visiting townships this month to seek assistance from trustees for implementing a plan for adequate emergency medical service coverage throughout the county. It will take a year or two to implement any plan, Wagner said.
“It’s a new future for EMS,” Majors said during the county commissioners regular meeting Monday. “The commissioners have done a good job of providing infrastructure” with vehicles and equipment. “But we have a manpower problem” in some county areas especially north and east including Bettsville, Green Springs and Attica.
He said there are 11 townships and seven squads to cover the county. As a result, some squads are out of service.
“We need help doing this,” Majors said. “We need to look at (more) volunteers, need some funding and get a ‘buy-in’ (or support) from residents.
Some of the county squads only have five emergency medical technicians, he said, and for full-staffing it requires 20. With the small numbers, necessary training is also being passed over.
One solution may be compensation for the volunteers, he said. Wyandot County provides a nominal amount for volunteers who show up at the squad and are available for runs. They receive additional pay when being on runs.
That may be the future of ambulance service in the county, too, he said, or it will come to the point where a decision has to be made on how effective each service is and when to take a squad out of service.
Residents in Hopewell Township, which includes Bascom, pay 1.2 mills, or 12 cents for each $100 of appraised, or market value, real estate to fund fire and ambulance service. In Liberty Township, it is 0.15 mills, or 1.5 cents for each $100 of appraised, or market value. Residents approved ballot issues to fund the services.
State law does not require the county commissioners to provide ambulance service, Majors and Commissioner Fred Zoeller said.
A 1978 contract between the county and the townships has the county providing the equipment and the townships providing the personnel to operate the ambulance service, according to Stacy Wilson, county administrator. A new contract is being reviewed and expected to be presented soon.
Commissioner Holly Stacy said Majors is making “a very valid attempt to get other elected officials to help get the word out,” which will be followed by the plan’s implementation phase.

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