Starke County Emergency Ambulance Service Director, Paul Mathewson, came before the County Commissioners on Monday to ask for a reimbursement program for personnel trying to achieve upgraded certification.
“They’re in classes two days a week plus clinical hours and there’s a lot that goes into it. It costs money to go for them and we’re going to see if we can aid our employees by having a reimbursement program. This is just the first step,” said Mathewson.
The Commissioners instructed Mathewson to present a sample contract at a future meeting for them to see.
The Director was asked how the plans to upgrade the ambulance service from basic life support to advanced is progressing.
“We’re right on track,” he replied. “We have everything set and ready. It’s just a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s and moving forward.”
The Commissioners and County Council have been anxious to see the upgraded service on line by January 1st. Mathewson said that is a possibility.
“Obviously there’s a number of things that go into that which is usually delay time from signing contracts, having the State come out and monitor your vehicles and getting budget information back so we can go ahead and order our equipment we need. January 1st is definitely the goal and we’re going to keep fighting towards it and reach it the best we can.”
Many people have been involved in upgrading all forms of life support service in the county. Commissioner Kathy Norem and Council President Mark Smith have been in the forefront of the effort.
Assisting with advice have been Kris Rannells and Charlie Collins. Both men were instrumental is getting upgraded training for the county’s firefighters who are often times the first on the scene.