Morrow County EMS, 911 Operators Fight To Save Jobs
When it comes to saving lives, one Morrow County resident believes he's alive because of the men and women who work emergency services.
"I could not have received any better care, and I would say the Morrow County squad was part of saving my life that day," says Morrow County Commissioner Tom Harden.
Harden suffered two heart attacks in a month. Each time, Morrow County EMS employees responded.
"Without them, I probably wouldn't be standing here today," he says.
Harden is one of three commissioners that are re-examining how emergency services are handled in the county.
Among the concerns:
- There is not a paramedic on every truck.
- The need for improved response times.
- Dispatchers who aren't trained to give CPR instructions when someone calls 911.
- There's been no audit in three years of finances of the Morrow County Firefighter and Squadsman Association.
"I'm concerned about co-mingling of funds on 911, money being spent where it’s not supposed to, in areas where it's restricted not to be. There's a lot of concern, and there's a lot of good reasons for a state audit," says Commissioner Richard Miller.
EMS and 911 personnel feel they've been left out of the process.
"Why didn't the commissioners approach any of the employees about what we feel what we need?" says Morrow County EMT Roger Meyer.
They worry a new company can't care for citizens like they do.
"If it's a non-injury call, we pick them up and go let their dog out. We help them get back in bed. We take care of our patients," says Morrow County EMT Roger Walker.
As for Commissioner Harden..."I personally have no problem with the current service."
But it's not a feeling shared by two other board members who believe by hiring an outside company, citizens of Morrow County may receive improved EMS and 911 service, without spending more for it.
The county says the winning bidder would increase salaries of EMS and 911 employees and provide them with something they've never had - health benefits.
The county has set a date of April 9 for companies to submit bids.
The county is hoping the winning bidder can provide improved service with the $2.5 million budget that currently pays for EMS and 911 services in the county.