By Beth Christian Broschart
The Parsons Advocate
PARSONS – The Tucker County Commission and Tucker County Ambulance Authority met at the Tucker County Courthouse to approve a proposal to provide a second EMS station in the county providing 24/7 coverage to the eastern end of the county.
A press release from Tucker County Ambulance Authority President Larry Armbruster said having two full time crews on duty 24/7 in the county has been a long time coming. “With the support of the Tucker County Commission, the first step of the plan the TCAA Board presented to the County Commission has been realized.”
Armbruster said three proposals for a new station were presented to the TCAA – one from Cortland Acres, one from the National Youth Science Center and one from Canaan Valley Fire Department. He said the pros and cons of each location were discussed by the TCAA Board, and they unanimously agreed to recommend a combined Cortland Acres/Canaan Valley Fire Department arrangement as the best solution for the near future. He said the TCAA Board agreed that future plans should include a permanent facility on the county-owned property near the intersection of Routes 32 and 93.
Previously, Armbruster presented a plan to the Commission at their March 23 meeting to implement a set of goals to enhance the service it provides. Those goals included providing 24/7 coverage from two stations, response times between 10 and 25 minutes, increasing employee pay, maintaining/replacing equipment to meet current need, increasing the number of paramedics and continuing to maintain a third station as needed.
The Tucker County Commission voted to accept the TCAA recommendations with the stipulation that the lease with Cortland be with the Tucker County Commission.
Armbruster thanked the Commissioners’ support of part of the plan.
Commission President Lowell Moore said he wanted the Tucker County Commission to be the lessee for the Cortland Acres proposal.
“I want to personally personally thank everyone who has worked so diligently coming up with a solution to provide badly needed 24/7 service in the Thomas Davis – Canaan Valley Area. I thank the citizens of Tucker County for their patience and ask that we continue to work together in supporting this EMS service.”
Commissioner Patrick Darlington said he is excited about EMS services on the mountain 24/7.
“It is a much needed service we have worked on for a long time,” Darlington said. “We are going to make this happen.”
Darlington said it had to happen.
“The burden is put upon the County Commission because state code says we shall provide EMS service,” Darlington said. “Were we providing EMS services? Yes. Were we providing the best EMS coverage possible? No, we were not. So that is our goal – to provide the best service possible to all of Tucker County. This puts us one step closer to being able to do this.”
Darlington said this has to be a top priority.
“We will have 24/7 coverage in Station 1 in Parsons and 24/7 coverage at Cortland,” Darlington said. “There are some changes we have requested in the preliminary lease and they will make them at the next Cortland Board Meeting.”
Darlington said he wanted to commend Cortland for working with them.
“Without their cooperation and their help, we would not have been able to do this,” Darlington said. “Cortland really stepped up and helped us out.”
Commissioner Diane Hinkle said the Commission held a series of public work sessions over the last 18 months with representatives of the Development Authority Board, Tucker County Convention and Visitors Bureau and health care providers to discuss options for establishing a permanent station for Tucker County EMS on the county parcel in Davis with the goal of providing 24/7 coverage.
“The TCAA Board recently presenting a funding request, a five-year budget proposal and a recommendation to enter into a three-year lease agreement with Cortland Acres to house Station 2 and provide 24/7 service from the Thomas and/or Canaan Valley station,” Hinkle said. “The Commission unanimously agreed to accept the Cortland proposal to house Station 2 of the TC EMS with limited services to continue out of the Canaan Valley Station.”
Hinkle said the agreement is a win-win situation for the Cortland community as well as the east end of the county.
“I appreciate the cooperative effort of Cortland Acres, the Canaan Valley Fire Department, the TCAA Board and my fellow commissioners,” she said. “When everyone works together toward the same goal, good things happen.”