Friday, July 28, 2000

Seat belt fines pay for emergencies

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        DEERFIELD TWP. — Ohio drivers who pay fines for not wearing their seat belts are helping train and equip the paramedics who will treat them if they are injured in an accident.

        The township has received a $20,487 state grant to upgrade its emergency medical services. About half the money, $9,204, is earmarked for EMS training, and the rest will be used for medical equipment, said Deerfield Battalion Chief Doug Koch, who heads up the department's EMS.

        The money comes from seat belt fines, Deerfield fire officials said.

        “We do have a lot of need,” Mr. Koch said. “All this money can be used in the EMS arena. Anything that comes in from the outside frees up money for oth er (department) areas.”

        The $11,283 for equipment may be put toward a defibrillator — a machine costing up to $17,000 that generates an electric shock to restart a stopped heart. Deerfield already has three defibrillators, but needs at least one more, Mr. Koch said.

        Training paid for by the grant includes paramedic certification, medical recertification courses and advanced life-support classes, Mr. Koch said.

        With a department less than two years old that serves a population exploding in growth, Deerfield officials say outside resources help.

        “It certainly frees our tax levy for other (department) purposes when we can get grant funding for specialized purposes. It does give us more flexibility in our budget,” said Fire Chief William Kramer.


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