W.Va. county hires ambulance chief

March 02, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - From the age of 3, George L. Thomas IV loved fire trucks and ambulances.

"I was just really into it," he said.

Today, Thomas, 35, starts his job as the new Jefferson County emergency ambulance coordinator.

His hiring by the Jefferson County Ambulance Authority was approved last Thursday by the county commissioners

Thomas is expected to coordinate the establishment of a county-wide emergency ambulance service in Jefferson County.

The emergency ambulance service in the county is provided by four of the five volunteer fire companies.

Like other surrounding areas, the volunteer medics have been stretched thin from a lack of people available to run calls, particularly during the daytime when the volunteers are at their paid jobs, said Chief Edwin D. Smith of the Independent Fire Co.


In 1996, the two ambulances at his fire station responded to more than 1,200 emergency calls.

"We've been attempting for years to get the county commissioners to realize the need for a paid ambulance service," Smith said. "Right now we have an urgent need to get a paid ambulance crew to help take calls. Far too often it takes too long to get an ambulance out."

Smith said that from looking at Thomas' background, the county has a good person in place to establish a county-wide ambulance service.

"I read his credentials and I think he'll do good," Smith said

Thomas has more than 15 years of experience as a volunteer and paid firefighter and emergency medical technician in Frederick County, Md.

He has a bachelor's degree in fire sciences and a bachelor's degree in economics, both from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master's degree in business administration from Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Md.

While there he wrote his master's thesis on the cost benefits analysis of Frederick County's fire and emergency medical service options comparing paid and volunteer systems for the county.

Thomas said he was pleased with being hired to the position. "I'll give my best effort to look at the needs of the residents," he said.

Thomas said he will be learning his new duties today.

He will be leaving his family's business in Buckeystown, Md., where they grew water lilies and shipped them internationally. He also worked part-time for the Frederick Fire Department.

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