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No position taken on EMS plan

February 07, 2007|by TARA REILLY

The Washington County Commissioners heard a plan Tuesday that emergency responders hope will preserve the volunteer emergency medical system and improve service for residents.

The commissioners took no position on the plan, being called "Emergency Medical Services: Plan for the Future."

The Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association is scheduled to vote on the two-phase plan on Feb. 15.

The plan includes establishing requirements for medical responders that could result in stiffer county oversight for companies that fall short.

The first phase of the plan includes realigning emergency medical service boundaries to improve response times; creating four battalions placed in specific areas throughout the county staffed with 12 paramedics; and hiring an assistant chief of emergency medical service operations, said John A. Latimer IV, director of the Division of Fire and Emergency Services.

The county also would reimburse companies for diesel fuel up to a certain amount, Latimer said.

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The total cost for the first phase would be nearly $1.4 million, Latimer said.

The second phase would call for county intervention should companies not meet a number of "benchmarks," including those set for staffing levels and response times.

If that happens, the county would take over billing and hire additional staff, potentially costing up to $4.5 million, according to the plan.

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