2013-04-20 / News

Hebron presents three EMS options

By Charles Prince

HEBRON – Buckeye Lake and Hebron officials meet last Friday to discuss possible contract options to provide EMS/fire services to Buckeye Lake Village.

It was the first joint meeting since the Feb. 14 meeting that Buckeye Lake Mayor Rick Baker called a ‘good start.’ Council members Clay Carroll and Arletta Ruton, and Fire Capt. Dave Ruton dropped in on a Hebron Safety Committee meeting in early March. They left with some numbers.

Friday evening, Hebron Mayor Clifford L. Mason said, “ Those were raw numbers.” He said Village Administrator Ralph Wise and Fire Chief Randy Weekly had put together a PowerPoint presentation, offering three different scenarios.

Wise outlined Hebron’s current staffing. All staff must have at least a firefighting card and an EMT-Basic card. Paramedics are strongly favored. Three full-time firefighter work 24 hours on then have 48 hours off. The fire chief and the fire inspector (also a paramedic) work 40 daytime hours a week. The rest of the slots are filled by 20 part-timers. Three to four firefighters including a paramedic are always on duty.

Wise said from 2010 through 2012, Hebron made 325 mutual aid runs to Buckeye Lake – 287 EMS and 39 fire. Buckeye Lake made a couple of dozen to Hebron. Both departments are immediately dispatched for structure fire calls in either community.

Wise said it costs $98,500 per year for a career firefighter. It takes three to have one on duty 24/7/365. It costs $110,750 a year to provide a part-timer 24/7/365.

Calling it “a partnership among neighboring communities,” Wise presented three options or models. The first would staff the Buckeye Lake Fire Station 24/7/365 with one-full-time firefighter and one part-timer. The cost would be $406,250 per year.

The second would staff the Buckeye Lake Fire Station 24/7/365 with two part-timers. Cost would be $221,500 per year.

The third would add one parttimer to the Hebron Fire Station staff 24/7/365, at a cost of $110,750. “All calls would originate from the Hebron Fire Station,” Wise explained. Hebron would respond immediately to all EMS/ fire calls from Buckeye Lake, Mason added.

When asked if Hebron had a preference, Mason said, “Our only preference is we want to help.” He later added Hebron doesn’t tolerate missed shifts or arriving late/leaving early. Their part-time schedule is always filled and it’s the responsibility of the scheduled part-timer to find a replacement if unable to work the shift. Part-timers who can’t meet those expectations don’t get any hours.

Mason said all three options only include personnel costs, including holiday pay. Maintenance and fuels costs would have to be worked for the first two options that have Hebron staffers using the Buckeye Lake Fire Station and equipment.

“Our goal is not to do away with the volunteer Buckeye Lake Fire Department,” Mason said.

In response to another question, Mason said, “These are real costs. We are not out to make money on this.” He added that Hebron will continue to do EMS billing on the patients transported.

“We accept whatever your insurance pays,” Mason said. “We don’t bill the patient,” he added.

Mason believes response times to Buckeye Lake from Hebron will be 3.5-5 minutes. “We leave immediately,” Weekly emphasized.

“Our incentive is to have full staffing and do it as cost efficiently as we can,” Baker. When asked about who makes the decision, Baker said, “It is council action. We might have to increase the millage (tax rate on the fire levy).”

“We appreciate your efforts,” he added. Mason said Hebron’s Safety Committee hasn’t approved any of the three proposed scenarios. Council members would ultimately have to approve any contract. The next step is up to Buckeye Lake.

Mason invited everyone to the department’s open house from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 20.

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