January 15, 2014

Carroll County expands EMS

New location east of Flora now operational

by Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune

---- — FLORA — The new Carroll County EMS location on Ind. 18 just east of Flora is now operational.

Across from Carroll Junior/Senior High School, the new station replaces the one that was formerly on the west edge of Flora. Doug Atkinson, co-director of Carroll County EMS, said regular flooding forced staff to move operations out of the old Flora location to the county’s Burlington location a few years ago.

Now EMS is back near Flora after overcoming yet another obstacle, as Carroll County Councilwoman Ann Brown said the county had to cut EMS funds during the recession.

“We started putting money away to get ourselves back to where we were and better,” Brown said.

The new location cost $356,000, Brown said, adding that the county was able to save funds by hiring its highway superintendent as the project engineer.

The 2,100-square-foot station is equipped with an ambulance garage, two offices, a workstation, a living area, kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. It is the third EMS location in Carroll County. The two others are in Burlington and Delphi.

Carroll County EMS has 11 full-time EMTs, eight part-time EMTs, nine full-time medics and five part-time medics.

County officials are planning for a fourth EMS location in Tippecanoe Township, which a recent survey revealed would be the most adequate location to expand to. Brown said it would be a “carbon copy” of the one outside Flora.

Carroll County Commissioner Patrick Clawson said he hopes to see the next facility completed in about nine months.

Shelly Wiles, who lives in the Burlington area, visited the new Carroll County EMS location at an open house Saturday. She said her son recently started as an EMT with the service and that she is pleased with the EMS provision in the county.

“We’re very blessed,” Wiles said. “We have so many good ones. We’re saturated with just great EMTs and medics and volunteer firefighters.”

In Cass County, Rural/Metro is contracted to provide ambulance service and is paid through user fees.

The Logansport Fire Department recently struck a deal with Rural/Metro for an ambulance of its own for a $1-per-year lease to help out when Rural/Metro becomes inundated with calls. The agreement follows several public meetings earlier this fall where firefighters and public officials expressed frustration over Rural/Metro’s response times.

Jeff Slusser, Cass County operations manager for Rural/Metro, said he plans on having the ambulance delivered to the fire department today.

When asked if he felt Rural/Metro’s response times have been improving lately, Logansport Fire Chief Mark Strong said, “Yes and no. It depends on the volume of calls, I’m sure. Nothing has been real, real bad.”

U.S. Census Bureau data shows Cass County has nearly twice the amount of residents and is about 40 square miles larger than Carroll County. Carroll County has three ambulances in service at all times and with the addition of the station in Tippecanoe Township, will have a fourth in the near future.

Cass County Commissioner Jim Sailors said the amount of ambulances Cass County requires is based on the number of runs the county receives.

In Cass County, Rural/Metro has two ambulances in service at all times. The Galveston Volunteer Ambulance Service has two ambulances as well. The Logansport Fire Department’s, which will service as a backup for runs in Logansport, would bring the county’s total to five.