Sedgwick County Commission to vote to add full-time EMS staff in Clearwater

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CLEARWATER, Kan. (KSNW) – One city in Sedgwick County could be getting a new full-time EMS staff by 2020s

The City of Clearwater does have a dedicated emergency service volunteer, but they are unable to provide transport. That could soon change.

“As we know, with most emergency calls, the first few minutes are the most critical. We do need to have coverage nearby and obviously sophisticated well-trained medics,” says Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O’Donnell.

The Clearwater Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Services building may soon be shared by a full-time staff from Sedgwick County.

“We are looking at four full time paramedics down there in the Clearwater office and then those will be 12 hours on and 12 hours off.”

As of now, Clearwater has an emergency service volunteer who can provide service but not medical transport. Outside of that volunteer, the city relied on Sedgwick County EMS. Discussions to bring a full-time county staff in town have been going on since early summer.

“The rest of the county commissioners supported that in the budget so we passed that back in August in our budget,” says O’Donnell. “We had a contingency knowing this could happen and sure enough it did.”

The startup will cost the county just over $370,000. In return, Sedgwick County will staff its four EMT’s in the building and be given use of Clearwater’s ambulance.

“These individuals are taxpayers in our county, and they need ambulatory care,” O’Donnell adds.

The agreement will go up for a vote at Wednesday’s County Commission meeting. Clearwater city officials say they will also have a public meeting on Jan 14 to consider the changes.

Below is a statement from Ron Marsh, Clearwater City Administrator.

“The City of Clearwater and Sedgwick County have been in discussion since May-June 2019 about having Sedgwick County establish a 12/7 staffed EMS post in Clearwater. The post would be located in the Clearwater Emergency Services building at 319 W. Ross. The City and County are working out the details on agreements for a building lease and use of Clearwater’s ambulance. It is expected the agreements will be brought to the Clearwater City Council for consideration during the January 14, 2020 regular meeting.”

“The County establishing an EMS post in Clearwater will be a benefit to our citizens in that it reestablishes ground ambulance transport. While we recognize the County will use the asset as their needs dictate, by having the EMS crew stationed in Clearwater 12/7, the hope is that ambulance response times will remain low. Clearwater will continue to maintain an all-volunteer force of EMT’s and paramedics to respond as availability allows when an emergency call is received.”

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