ES Fire Department wants WCCAD to partner in equipment purchase

Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Eureka Springs Assistant Fire Chief Bob Pettus demonstrates the Lifepak 15, an advanced defibrillator that gives several kinds of information from 12 different leads. The city is asking WCCAD to partner in purchasing and owning three of the units, which cost $35,000 each. WCCAD is researching the legality of amending its contract to be able to do so. Kathryn Lucariello / CCN

EUREKA SPRINGS -- In addition to considering whether the Western Carroll County Ambulance District (WCCAD) can purchase an ambulance for use in Holiday Island (see story above), commissioners have also been asked to purchase three expensive pieces of equipment for Eureka Springs ambulances to use.

The Lifepak 15 is a professional-level defibrillator that does several things besides administer shock to a person who has gone into cardiac arrest.

With the ability to hook up 12 leads to a patient, it detects carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and oxygen levels, heart and breathing rate, blood pressure, bronchial condition and correct tracheal tube placement. It also has a "CPR metronome" to assure chest compressions are being done correctly. The screen is configured to provide viewability even in bright sunlight.

The units cost $35,000 each.

The Eureka Springs Fire Department has proposed WCCAD purchase three units, one for each of its ambulances, and allow Eureka time to pay back their half, so the district and the city would jointly own the devices.

But under the contact with WCCAD, the ambulance district cannot purchase equipment to be used within the city limits, as Eureka is not part of the western district, which is funded by a two-mill tax for district residents only.

Legal challenges in the past prompted the district to revise the contract with Eureka to state this restriction.

Chairman Mary Ann Schaefer said at WCCAD's Nov. 17 meeting, "We all feel it's an excellent piece of equipment, we just didn't know how to go about it."

In checking with attorney Matt Bishop about this and other items, she said Bishop told her nothing prevents the commission from amending the contract before its termination date in 2012.

"My suggestion is we buy three Lifepaks and have the city pay back half over time," said Commissioner John Dolce. "It would be joint ownership until the contract became null and void or we are no longer using the units. If the contract is null, we could sell all three and split the money."

"A former board member was not in favor of buying them for the city," said Commissioner Chuck Olson. "This is quite a chunk of change."

Whether the Lifepak qualifies as "supplies" was also discussed. WCCAD pays for supplies, such as latex gloves, blood pressure cuffs and vests for the district's Emergency Medical Responders. It does not pay for supplies to be used in Eureka city limits.

WCCAD discussed contacting a lawyer to write an amendment to the contract to justify providing the Lifepak monitors to Eureka Springs on the provision the city pays its half before 2012.

In other business, WCCAD:

* Heard Eureka Springs ambulance performance reports for the first fiscal quarter (July through September) and in October of 2009: out of a total of 192 calls in the district, Holiday Island had 107; Grassy Knob, 19; Inspiration Point, 15; Hwy. 23 South, 12; Hwy. 23 North, 4; Hwy. 62 East, 25; and Hwy. 62 West, 10. These totals show Holiday Island calls at 56 percent of the total.

* Approved, upon receipt of new lime green vests for EMRs, that the old blue vests be donated to the Search Operations Rescue Team.

* Approved opening a money market checking account at a 1.63 percent interest rate.

* Approved a motion to meet monthly instead of every other month.

* Approved requests for payment.

The next meeting will be Dec. 15 at 4 p.m. at the Grassy Knob Fire Station. The public is welcome to attend.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: