Republic weighs EMS choices

REPUBLIC – Republic/Scipio Township EMTs met with Seneca County Commissioners and EMS Director Ken Majors Monday night to discuss recruiting volunteers and the future of their program.

Commissioner Fred Zoeller said the county is not advocating that all townships pass a tax to support their program, but it has worked well for Bascom and Hopewell and Loudon townships.

EMT Doug Nichols said there is no incentive for younger volunteers even with $3.50 per hour and long-term volunteers are getting tired.

The value of the county Echo Unit was questioned. Commissioner Holly Stacy said Echo Unit responds during day time hours when other squads are unavailable. Majors said the 15 members of the unit have an annual budget of $70,000. They respond to 60-70 calls monthly, making some transports.

Changing class times for volunteer training to accommodate work hours was suggested. Visiting the county schools with programs focused on recruiting volunteers was another suggestion. Commissioner Jeff Wagner said he could contact state officials for specific suggestions on recruitment.

Discussion included hiring a private ambulance service, and Majors said he would investigate the costs.

Republic Mayor Bruce Lambert asked if the village would have to change the way it functions and adopt a schedule if it signed with the county. There were concerns that the village may lose its ambulance if a schedule was not in place.

Majors said he appreciates Republic’s efforts. He also said the local squads are responsible for paying for a volunteer’s training and upon completion, the county reimburses the squad.

A committee was formed consisting of township trustees and council and fire department members to discuss ways to recruit volunteers. Advertising in The Attica Hub and being present at Party in the Park July 17 were suggested.

Zoeller said the county “can’t survive on the 1978 system,” and that there need to be new answers.