Tucker County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has had a very busy August.
- We answered 125 calls compared to 118 this time last year.
- We participated in a plethora of meetings and discussions to collect as much information as possible concerning running TC EMS as efficiently and as effectively as possible. We now understand the historical quantity, incident types, distribution and timing of EMS calls for the past 14 months.
- We have supported the County Commission to put an Ambulance Excess Levy (that’s the legal term) on the November ballot to replace the loss of revenue from the now rescinded Ambulance Fee Ordinance. For a Class 2 permanent residence with an appraised value of $150,000 and an assessed value of $90,000, the levy would add a modest $34.92 to your annual tax bill.
- We met with and continue to dialog with the WV EMS Advisory Committee (EMSAC) to examine our operations and recommend how we should go forward to best provide EMS services to the residents and business of Tucker County. Their report has been made available to the Commission to be posted on the county website.
- We met with the WV Office of EMS and are implementing their recommendations.
- Our ambulances have been state inspected and all are in compliance and licensed to provide medical services.
- We held an EMS open house to attract potential recruits and their state-sponsored training is ongoing. We will aggressively hire once we secure stable funding, in this very competitive environment.
Which leads to our current fiscal challenge. EMS is a cash business that runs in a deficient mode especially in rural, sparsely populated areas like Tucker County. All our cash reserves for equipment have been allocated toward EMS operations. With the earlier failure of the ambulance levy and the elimination of the $50 ordinance, we will run out of funding before the new levy funds become available in October 2023.
Assuming the levy passes and those funds are available in a year, we have undertaken a plan to try to bridge the immediate and short-term $250,000 gap with donations. The Ambulance Authority has set up a method to receive, acknowledge and properly account for, donations from the citizens, friends and visitors of Tucker County. Within a week, a postal mailer asking for donations will be sent to your address and also available at many local business locations. We humbly encourage you – residents, friends and visitors — to consider making a donation.
What else could you do? Attend the upcoming EMS levy briefings that we will be holding around the county in the next couple months; a lot more information will be shared then. We also encourage you to ask your commissioners and the candidates running for office to support EMS.
We answered the call for help 1,281 times last year. Someday you might need our help; today we need yours.
Dennis Filler, Board President, Tucker County Ambulance Authority