‘That is an added cost, but if you’re talking lives’: Clearwater considers full-time EMS staff

Kansas

Clearwater resident Wendy Bullard and other neighbors have concerns about the future of their emergency services. Bullard is a hair dresser in Clearwater.

“I think it’s a toss up, it’s a hard call right now,” said Bullard.

Last fall, the director resigned and a handful of his staff left in support of him. Now, the city is considering new ways to staff the department.

The city administrator says city council decided it couldn’t continue with just volunteers.

“We can go back to the community and say here’s what the county is willing to support, here’s what we’re willing to do to keep it local,” said Ron Marsh, Clearwater City Administrator.

If Sedgwick County takes over services, the county’s PIO tells me it would be of no cost to Clearwater residents because they already support county EMS. And if it’s local, they will hire several full-time staff, and the city will double their EMS budget. Marsh says this may cause a tax increase for residents but some think it’s worth it.

While some residents believe county EMS is the best option, others are concerned about response times if a truck isn’t always in Clearwater.

“If we had to wait for the ambulance to come from some other place,” said Rhonda Janzen, Clearwater.

“That is an added extra cost, but if you’re talking lives, you know,” said Bullard.

Marsh says they’re waiting for the county to come back with an official plan, and then, the city council will vote on it.

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