WCCAD ready to spend lawsuit reserve funds

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Western District Ambulance District Commissioner Scott Link was not present at Friday's meeting of the commission to urge them to consider using some $300,000 held in reserve earlier to cover lawsuit expenses, now that the suit has been settled.

But commissioners Bob Whiteley and acting chairman Fred Pierson apparently tapped into that reserve in approving some expenditures and planning for future expenditures for training to enhance emergency health care in the Western District.

Approval was given to buy a new dispatch radio for $2,500, to be housed at Eureka Springs Police Department to be able to tone-out emergency personnel at Grassy Knob and Inspiration Point.

The radio includes a decoder, and can be switched between separate frequencies to isolate tones to each department.

Tones will also be customized so the ones for each department in the district can be distinguished.

Reprogramming of hand-held radios can be done by the Eureka Springs Fire Department.

Interest was also expressed in training dispatchers to provide rudimentary health care advice to callers while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.

Eureka Springs Fire Chief David Stoppel said that such procedures are becoming standard, and expected, throughout the country.

Approval to purchase Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) pads, due to expiration of those presently on hand, was granted, with a range between $1,324.32 and $1,632.

Pads from Emergency Medical Products cost $48 each, and it was recently learned that Kimberly -Clarke makes a pad which also fits the Lifepack 500, costing $27.59.

Lifespan of the Kimberly-Clarke product will be researched before the supply of pads are purchased.

Pads already expired will be used for training purposes, and future pads will be rotated to use older pads first.

In discussing Link's agenda topic, Whiteley and Pierson backed away from the idea of an additional ambulance for Holiday Island.

Piersen stated that he did not think a current ambulance was being used as such, indicating its function was more like that of a support vehicle.

Whitely countered, though, that while Holiday Island may not have the population, it certainly has the emergency calls. Holiday Island does have the majority of emergency calls in the Western District.

Piersen emphasized the commission's intent to "not get back into the ambulance business," saying that vehicles may be assigned to specific departments in the district, with the commission retaining control.

That would also allow for adjustments in the fleet as population in the various areas grow.

Holiday Island Fire Chief Jack Deaton will arrange for a meeting between commissioners, fire chiefs and attorneys to discuss that idea, if not before Thanksgiving, then probably after the first of the year.

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