Officials eye countywide EMS

PHOTO BY JILL GOSCHE Commissioner Mike Kerschner leads a meeting of township and rescue officials Tuesday morning.

Township and rescue officials started making plans to form a group to examine the future of the county’s EMS system Tuesday.

About 25 officials attended a meeting at the office of Seneca County’s commissioners Tuesday morning.

Commissioner Mike Kerschner led the meeting and estimated it would cost $2.5 million for a countywide EMS system.

One option is to have several sites across the county that would have full-time, fully paid people staffing them.

Kerschner said there are problems with volunteers, funding, people being unavailable for runs too often and not registering those times, and reporting.

Tim Lynch, a Liberty Township trustee and president of the township trustees association, said volunteerism nearly is becoming extinct, and a paid EMS system likely was going to be what was going to have to happen.

Lynch said he did not know if there was going to be any other solution than to hire full-time people.

He said fortunately, residents had passed levies to support the effort, and money was not an issue.

“It’s people,” he said.

Dani Gebauer, Seneca County’s emergency services administrator, said there are other options.

“We are looking towards the future of being paid, just because eventually, you do lose out on your volunteer system,” Gebauer said.

She also assists Bascom EMS.

“We have volunteers. We have enough volunteers to man two squads from time to time,” she said.

Green Springs Mayor Adam Greenslade said throwing money at the issue isn’t fixing it. Green Springs’ officials are happy with what they have done, he said.

“(It’s) been great since we started,” he said.

Adams and Pleasant townships and the village of Green Springs hired North Central EMS, a private ambulance service, to serve residents.

Greenslade said the set-up isn’t the end goal.

“We want consistent service throughout the county,” he said.