Sunday, March 05, 2000

Cities may bolster emergency service


Riverboat casinos bring increased calls

BY LEW MOORES
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. — Three cities in Dearborn County are funding a study that will look at how emergency medical services are delivered and whether full-time paramedics are needed.

        Lawrenceburg, Greendale and Aurora are funding the study because population and emergency medical-service runs in those communities have risen.

        “It's a great opportunity for three jurisdictions to work together for a common purpose,” said Aurora Mayor Richard Ullrich. “We're trying to find out where we are now with emergency response, where we can be and how to pay for it.”

        Each of the cities relies on volunteers to handle emergency medical services. There is no paramedic service.

        The cities have hired H.R. Advantages, a human-resources consulting firm based in Indianapolis, for about $44,000 to do the study.

        Jason Todd, president of the firm, said the company will start the study this month and should have it completed by August.

        He said two members of the firm will visit the three cities, talk to emergency medical technicians and firefighters and survey residents and business owners. Once legwork is completed, they will do a feasibility study to see how emergency medical services, including paramedic service, can be provided.

        “We're real excited about what it could do for the three cities,” said Mayor Todd. “I'm very impressed with the three mayors coming together like this.”

        Greendale Mayor Doug Hedrick said that before riverboat gambling in the area, the emergency medical technicians were responding to about 40 accidents a year. Now, they respond to more than 400, he said.

        Greendale Fire Lt. Shannon Craig is the city's only full-time firefighter/EMT. He said he would welcome full-time help.

        “Each year it goes up,” said Lt. Craig, referring to emergency medical runs. “We're getting more accidents, we're growing. More vehicles are coming through.”

        Mayor Ullrich said the three cities have a combined population of about 15,000, and that is growing.

        The traffic count on U.S. 50 averages about 40,000 vehicles daily.

        “The closer you get to Lawrenceburg and I-275, the numbers increase dramatically,” said Mayor Ullrich.

        Calls to Lawrenceburg Mayor Paul Tremain were not returned.

        Whatever is decided, Mayor Ullrich said, would not rule out using volunteers for emergency medical services and fire runs.

        “We cannot lose the volunteer aspect of this,” said Mayor Ullrich. “We just can't. We'd like to supplement and help the volunteers. As a matter of fact, the volunteers would get the first crack at paramedic training. We would actually look within the ranks of volunteers of those who may be interested in doing this as a career.

        “We still need volunteers in fire service and EMS. We recognize there needs to be a higher level of service. We just have to figure out how to pay for this.”

        Dan Kuebler, principal at Central Elementary School in Lawrenceburg, said there have been times when the school needed a life squad to take a student to the hospital. A year ago, Mr. Kuebler had to transport a fifth-grade student in diabetic shock himself when units were tied up. “If they want to have some paramedics, I don't think that's a bad thing,” Mr. Kuebler said. “But I think the volunteers from all areas do incredible jobs.”

       



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