Stations open by summer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Ironton residents can expect ambulance doors on a new city Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Service station to open this summer.

Tuesday, April 11, 2000

Ironton residents can expect ambulance doors on a new city Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Service station to open this summer.

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Although SEOEMS board members and county commissioners have given thought to a pitched roof instead of a flat roof on the new building, construction should finish by July, SEOEMS executive director Eric Kuhn said.

That project and two other Lawrence County ambulance station constructions top SEOEMS’s list of activities within the last year, Kuhn said.

A new home for the Chesapeake ambulance station is expected to open within three to four weeks, Kuhn said.

And, a new Aid ambulance station is expected to open by mid-May.

The district – now a government-run multi-county joint EMS district – recently mailed out copies of its annual report.

"We’re pleased with the way things are going," Kuhn said. "We’re buying ambulances and building stations. I think we’re progressing very well."

Overall, county commissioners are happy with the district’s service – runs are constant and accounts receivable is where officials expect it to be, he said.

Ambulance runs for the entire SEOEMS district totaled 20,294.

Lawrence County had the highest number of runs, with 9,227. Runs in Athens County totaled 5,994 and runs in Jackson County totaled 5,073.

The total increase in runs came near 5 percent yearly average, Kuhn said.

Lawrence County runs are always higher than other counties because of an aging population and the number of nursing homes, he said.

This year’s biggest challenge appears to be finding a new home for district headquarters, Kuhn said.

The main office in Gallipolis floods every year, so SEOEMS board members are seeking options from a consultant.

Those options could range from building a new headquarters in Jackson, which is more centrally located, to renovating the current building, he said.

Kuhn’s report listed other milestones last year for the three-county district’s 14-station coverage area:

– New ambulance station in Athens County opened in February.

– An additional 0.6-mill EMS levy was approved in November by the voters of Jackson County for the construction of a new EMS station in Jackson and the remodel of Station 10 in Oak Hill.

– MEDICO awarded the bid for two new ambulances in Athens County.

– Burgess Hearse and Ambulance Sales awarded the rechassis of two ambulances – Ironton and Jackson squads.

– Commissioners in all three counties approved the purchase of new Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from 1998 carryover funds.

– Commissioners in Athens County approved the purchase of a 25 kilowatt generator for the Coolville SEOEMS station due to frequent power outages in the area.

– SEOEMS continued to work closely with Aerial Communications, Alexander Utility Engineering, and Harris Corporation to resolve several loose ends on the completion of the $2.4 million digital microwave communications system. Final sign off was expected to occur by the end of March.

Foreign exchange microwave circuits now permit the public to call SEOEMS from within the district at a reduced rate or no toll at all – a benefit of the new microwave system. Also, headquarters staff can use the lines to call out, which will help reduce long distance charges at the central administrative office.

– The auxiliary dispatch site at the Gallipolis tower site began to take shape in 1999, and is currently functional. Some finishing touches will make transferring traffic to the auxiliary center easier, and the back-up dispatch center was expected to be in full operation by the end of March.

– Training carried out in 1999 included continuing education, the paramedic training program, new employee orientations, certification/recertification activities, various coordination and meeting participation, as well as the public education about SEOEMS. This included a first responder class program in Lawrence County, as well as over 849 individuals trained or retrained in American Heart Association CPR throughout the year.