Thanks, first responders

Edgar County fortunate to have fire, ambulance, sheriff and volunteers to aid

Posted 2/3/20

Edgar County is fortunate to have people willing to drop everything and come running when others need help in an emergency.

Thursday afternoon, Jan. 30, clearly illustrated what first responders …

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Thanks, first responders

Edgar County fortunate to have fire, ambulance, sheriff and volunteers to aid

Posted

Edgar County is fortunate to have people willing to drop everything and come running when others need help in an emergency.

Thursday afternoon, Jan. 30, clearly illustrated what first responders can encounter with multiple overlapping incidents.

The 911 dispatch center also deserves much credit for keeping everything coordinated and operating in a professional manner during a stressful time.

Everything started with sending the Paris Fire Department and a Horizon Health ambulance to Court and Central for a pedestrian struck by a vehicle. During that same time, the Chrisman Fire Department and the Northern Edgar County Ambulance were needed at a rural address for a medical emergency, which also resulted in a backup call for a Horizon Health ambulance.

These events were in progress when a two-vehicle, rear-end collision occurred on state Route 1 in Oliver. Paris Fire Department, the Oliver Station of the Paris Community Fire Protection and a Horizon Health Ambulance were sent out.

Radio communication between the dispatch center at the jail and first responders en route to the crash presented a confusing situation as dispatch attempted to relay fresh information from callers at the scene. One call stated a victim who was ambulatory was now lying down beside the road.

The ambulance crew asked dispatch to launch a helicopter as a precaution, but that was canceled after the EMTs arrived and were able to assess the situation.

Responders were still busy at Oliver when the alert tones sounded again.

This time Brocton and Hume fire departments were needed for a rollover accident on state Route 49 with a report the vehicle was on its top and leaking gasoline with at least two people trapped inside. An ambulance from Oakland in Coles County was also dispatched.

As soon as firefighters got on scene, they asked for a helicopter and shortly after that requested  a second helicopter. Several radio calls from different incidents sometimes interfered with each other and at one point a dispatcher commanded all communications to stand down while 911 coordinated with a helicopter service.

An Illinois State Police report confirmed two people – a 30-year-old Marshall woman and 14-year-old juvenile also from Marshall – were airlifted from the Brocton scene with serious injuries. No additional information was available regarding their condition Friday.

We are lucky to have these people, so the next time one encounters a first responder give them a thanks.

Somebody else deserving of thanks is Edgar County Clerk and Recorder August Griffin, who has worked diligently to help the county schools that have objected to being used as polling places during elections.

His most recent success was switching the polls at Carolyn Wenz School to the First United Methodist Church. This follows moving the polls from the Kansas School gym to Kansas Christian Church, the polls at Shiloh to the Hume Community Building and from Chrisman High School to the Nazarene Church. Only Memorial School remains as a polling place, and Griffin is searching for another site to handle those polls.

Griffin does not have to do this, and his job would be somewhat easier if he ignored the schools because the election laws give preference to using schools as polling places. He has shown understanding to educators’ concerns about the safety risk posed to schools when doors, normally kept locked for security, must be thrown open to the public and the disruption to the normal education routine when parts of building are no longer available for classes.