Board Approves EMS Help

Published 3:58 pm Thursday, March 10, 2011

CUMBERLAND – The County's Board of Supervisors authorized the County Administrator to take immediate action to ensure the safety of Cumberland's citizens when it comes to emergency services calls.

According to County Administrator Judy Ownby, the Administration's office, the dispatch center, and several Board members have been receiving concerns from the community related to the lack of response from the Cumberland Volunteer Rescue Squad when emergency calls are being made.

Because of the growing concern in the county and for the safety of the citizens, Ms. Ownby requested that the Board allow her to secure procurement back-up service so that if calls cannot be handled a nearby paid agency would be able to take care of the emergency call.

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The County Administrator also requested authorization to establish a policy for the dispatch center to follow concerning when to utilize the paid service.

“If I could also get the Board's approval to communicate to the Cumberland Rescue Squad that we are concerned with the many missed calls that are being reported to us-not only to staff but to Board members,” she noted about the growing concern.

Supervisor Elbert Womack, District Four, made the motion that the County secure procurement for emergency medical service from a paid agency for times of need; to set a policy with dispatch for utilizing those services; and for notifying the Cumberland Volunteer Rescue Squad about the problem he said has become out of control.

That motion passed unanimously and work will begin immediately on securing assistance for unanswered emergency calls.

“I think the majority would agree that we are concerned about the level or quality of service that is being provided and intend to take necessary action to make sure that the citizens receive appropriate emergency services,” added Supervisor Bill Osl, District One.

According to Chairman Van Petty, District Three, he said he had recently received several phone calls from senior citizens about the problem occurring

“particularly during the daytime.”

“It really leaves…our seniors…in an inconvenience,” said Petty about that age group not receiving a response from the rescue squad. “It's a very serious situation and we need to take some action to protect our citizens.”