The Pulaski County Council approved an additional appropriation for the EMS for the purchase of an ambulance and new cardiac monitors.
EMS Director Nikki Lowry requested $88,000 in an additional appropriation in order to pay for the new ambulance. The insurance company will be paying $82,000 to the county after totaling the ambulance that was damaged in a fire on Feb. 7 at Wagner’s Towing. The cost of a new ambulance is approximately $150,000.
The Pulaski County Commissioners received an update on the fire-damaged ambulance Monday night.
EMS Director Nikki Lowry said the repairs have been completed. She said that the ambulance is in Tipton and needs new brakes. The company that did the repairs on the ambulance quoted them $650 for new pads, rotors and all repairs needed.
Members of the Starke County Council are considering their ambulance purchase options and may vote next month to buy a new vehicle for the county EMS. Last year they put $60,000 earmarked for the purchase of a new ambulance into the rainy day fund. A super-majority is required in order to authorize that money to be spent. It would only cover part of the cost for a replacement rig, as diesel trucks range in price from $80,000 for a new chassis with a refurbished box mounted on it to $150,000 for a completely new truck. Council President Dave Pearman says the crush specifications on the boxes change each year, so the savings could place the county in a precarious position should a refurbished truck ever be involved in a wreck. A third option is to buy a new unit with less than a couple thousand miles from a vendor that has offered the county a favorable price on such a vehicle. Based on the quote from Fire Service, Pearman says the county could get a truck that is essentially new for $108,000. Many of their vehicles are used at trade shows and elsewhere as demonstrator models. Pearman presented the three options to the council, and members opted to take them under advisement and make a decision later.
Advanced Life Support service for Starke County may be only a few weeks away. That was the message the Starke County Commissioners heard last week from EMS Director Paul Mathewson.
“We found out that the application itself got accepted by the State for us to go ahead and move forward in becoming ALS certified,” said Mathewson.
Mathewson said he’s waiting on the state to come down and inspect the rigs and equipment before he can move ahead.
“We’re getting in equipment to stock the ambulance itself with all of the necessary equipment to run an ALS rig. We’re in the process of hiring on new paramedics to upgrade our service so that when the State is able to come down, we’re ready to go.”
The Pulaski County EMS is in an inconvenient situation with one truck out of commission and another being serviced because it has been belching black smoke. Nicole Lowry asked the commissioners to approve the replacement of a 6 liter diesel engine with a 7.3 liter diesel engine, with an estimated cost of $20-$32,000. Wagner’s Performance Diesel will be performing the conversion, which includes changing wiring harnesses, as well as the electrical components in the vehicle, which makes it a pretty tough job.
Starke County EMS Director, Lisa Burger, informed county officials this week that the ambulances were recently re-certified by the state. In an inspection, the trucks are gone over and the paperwork is audited.
Burger told the Commissioners that in the future the state will be doing random inspections, so their number could be drawn in six months, or maybe not again for three years.
A new ambulance may be en route to the Pulaski County EMS. Jason Rogers of the EMS told the Commissioners that they’ve been having a large amount of ambulance problems: One of their trucks has broken down and needs a new fuel injection system for the third time, another truck also needs repaired, and a third truck is unable to be used because the state no longer commissions it.
EMS Director Larry Brock presented his report to the Pulaski County Commissioners on Monday. Brock is seeking grants for repairing two ambulances and purchasing a generator for their Winamac station.
“We are seeking a ambulance grant to replace two of our ambulances , rechassis them, and a second grant for a generator for the Winamac station,” said Brock. “We have some rust damage due to a light that’s rusting in, of course because it’s on top of the ambulance it may fall through and we need to take care of that issue right away.”
Does Starke County need to upgrade it’s ambulance service by adding Advanced Life Service? This is the second in a series we have been running this week on this topic.
As we told you yesterday, Starke County is one of only two counties in the state that does not offer Advanced Life Service to its citizens. Even though officials have heard that the service can be paid for by charging higher rates with the Advanced Life Service, it is probably going to cost approximately $250,000 to secure the services of licensed paramedics.
Kris Rannells has worked as a paramedic in the past before returning home to join the family funeral home business in Hamlet. He says the Basic Ambulance Service in Starke County is doing a good job.
“They’re doing the most with what they have, but you’re going to have a better chance of saving more lives and keeping medical situations from expanding into a much more problematic situation with a paramedic than you are with an EMT,” said Rannells. “They are able to give all kinds of different medications and do different things to keep those medical problems from exasperating themselves.”
Kris Rannells was a paramedic in Indianapolis. Ted Hayes asked him about life saving with this upgraded service.
“In the amount of years that I was a paramedic, I can’t necessarily tell you how many lives saved alone, let alone how many lives I saved as a paramedic that would not have been saved as an EMT. I guarantee you, I made a difference as a paramedic. I don’t know about daily, but definitely weekly that would not have been made if I was just an EMT.”
A committee looking into upgrading to Advanced Life Service will meet next with paramedics from other small counties that already have it in place.