NECAS continues working toward special service area

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CHRISMAN – It’s two down and seven to go in the effort to establish an ambulance special service area in northern Edgar County.

The financially strapped Northern Edgar County Ambulance Service is working to create a special service area with the ability to tax residents of Ross, Prairie, Brouilletts Creek, Edgar, Shiloh and Young America Township, along with the communities of Hume, Metcalf and Chrisman to underwrite the cost of providing ambulance service. Failure to obtain an influx of reliable funding means the service, originally created as a volunteer operation, will likely be out of cash and closed by the end of the year.

Only two of the jurisdictions – Hume and Prairie Township – have approved creating a special service area. Darin Craig, who represents Edgar Township on the NECAS board, and Rodney Wolfe, the city of Chrisman representative, said the issue is on the June agenda for their respective jurisdictions. Four members of the NECAS board were absent for the Tuesday, May 28, meeting and could not report on where the other communities are in the process.

NECAS coordinator Jeremy Neal said one of the long-time first responders with the ambulance quit after 10 years of service. Neal explained the resignation had nothing to do with the current financial issues for NECAS, rather the person has had enough of emergency response.

Samantha McCarty the emergency services director for Horizon Health attended the meeting and discussed preparations for Horizon Health taking over the ambulance service contract for the special service area that includes the city of Paris plus Hunter, Stratton, Elbridge, Symmes, Grandview, Buck and Paris townships.

“I’ve been working with Jeremy (Neal) for dispatch protocol,” McCarty said.

She said when NECAS needs an intercept because the patient requires a paramedic level response, which NECAS cannot provide at this time, the plan is Horizon Health’s EMS assist vehicle will respond to meet the ambulance between Chrisman and Paris and a Horizon Health paramedic will get on the NECAS ambulance.

According to McCarty, they have also worked out a mutual aid agreement involving simultaneous response. When both NECAS ambulances are out on runs Horizon Health will dispatch one of its ambulances to park on Airport Road in case another emergency arises in northern Edgar County. The Horizon Health ambulance will return to base after one of the NECAS ambulances is free to respond.

Should the occasion arise where all of the Horizon Health ambulances are in service, NECAS will stage an ambulance at the Horace-Brocton Road to handle any additional calls.