New ambulance stations would be countywide plus

opinions

August 7, 2017 - 12:00 AM

Whether or not the $300,000 sequestered in Allen County’s 2018 budget will be sufficient to plan, build and outfit new ambulance stations in Humboldt and Moran, the commissioners’ zeal to do so is refreshing.
Commissioner Jerry Daniels is beating the drum loudest, proclaiming ambulance station projects should be in the works by spring.
We haven’t toured the Moran station, but having walked through Humboldt’s, it’s starkly evident new living quarters and storage area for ambulance and equipment are sorely needed. An enlarged garage for ambulances that soon will flesh out the service’s fleet is required; newer ones won’t fit in existing space.
It was equally refreshing to hear Humboldt Administrator Cole Herder affirm that he and Humboldt council members would be eager to work with the county. Moran officials no doubt will be just as supportive.
Ever since accord was reached in 2014, Iola has operated the countywide ambulance service with the county providing vehicles and $1 million a year subsidy to offset costs.
Iola provides space for ambulances in its fire station. EMS personnel also serve as firefighters. Humboldt and Moran have made stations available in their towns; neither has the financial wherewithal to build new ones.
That county commissioners are eager to front much of the upgrade of those outlying stations is not just generosity. It is only right and proper that the county absorb costs of projects that help any and all taxpayers.
Further, county coffers were swollen mightily when Enbridge laid a huge pipeline to carry crude oil from Illinois to the largest oil storage depot in the world at Cushing, Okla. Enbridge also built a huge, state-of-the-art pumping station about two miles southeast of Humboldt.
To bring those tidbits of information to a head, all of the nearly $40 million increase in Allen County’s assessed valuation generated by Enbridge lies within the service areas of ambulances operating from Humboldt and Moran.
Also, having new stations will make recruitment of personnel easier, Iola Fire Chief Tim Thyer noted.
Larger ambulances will mean better response, from ability to negotiate treacherous winter roads with four-wheel drive, to more space within the medical chamber to better accommodate newer equipment to give paramedics what they need to save lives.
Only someone given to distressing pragmatism would consider putting a price on a person’s life.
It’s heartening that our county commissioners are willing to see the best of emergency services be made available to every last person within the county.

— Bob Johnson

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