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WCEAA Pleas For Hundred Seed Money

By Staff | Jul 28, 2009

Hundred’s vital need of a paid crew for their ambulance was brought before Wetzel County Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday.

Carla McBee, Wetzel County Emergency Ambulance Authority director, and Jim Colvin, president of the WCEAA, were there to address the need for a paid ambulance crew in the town of Hundred.

Colvin told the commissioners that at the present time, Hundred only has volunteers to manage their ambulance calls. Because of this, New Martinsville and Pine Grove’s ambulances are being called out to handle their need.

Stressing this, the WCEAA requested $15,000 from the county to get Hundred started on a paid ambulance crew. Colvin told the commissioners the New Martinsville Ambulance Squad gets about 15 to 20 calls a month to the Hundred area. He explained that even the Marion County Ambulance Squad has performed 24 runs to Hundred from the month of April to the present to assist.

McBee said the need is vital since volunteers are decreasing. “People no longer have time to volunteer, it takes both people (in a household) working now,” explaining the lack of available time.

She told the commissioners the Wetzel County Ambulance Authority tried to fix this problem on their own, but it just did not work.

“I wish this was not about the pay, but it is,” she explained.

“The Hundred area deserves the same treatment of an ambulance available just like New Martinsville,” she stressed. She explaining that when the New Martinsville Squad gets called out to Hundred, that leaves Wetzel County Hospital without a transfer crew available when needed to transport someone out of the hospital.

She told of the 40 minute drive time to Hundred, and then after arriving, they sometimes have to drive to Morgantown or Fairmont hospitals. “This turns out to be a five-hour round trip,” she explained.

McBee explained that Folsom EMS has had to take calls for the New Martinsville Squad because they have been out to the Hundred area. She said Sistersville has been called out to help them, but they cannot do transfers for the WCEAA. “This makes Wetzel County Hospital waiting on us to do a transfer with a patient,” she noted.

Commissioner Scott Lemley stated he knew a paid crew in the Hundred station would mean no delay time in an emergency.

Johanna Lemasters, station manager of Hundred’s Volunteer Ambulance, squad spoke to the commissioners of past attempts to build up the volunteers by having EMT classes. “But jobs are taking more and more time of the volunteers,” she said.

Lemasters explained they cannot find enough interested people who have the time anymore to volunteer, because it’s like a second job.

“This would be so beneficial to the town of Hundred,” she said of a paid crew.

One concerned citizen from Hundred was present to stress to the commissioners that a stroke victim does not have the 40 to 45 minutes to wait for an ambulance to arrive in the Hundred area.

Mayor Charles Sine was also present to express his concern. “I’ve been with the squad over the years and I don’t want it to leave. I would like for you to help us out in anyway,” he stressed to the commissioners.

Colvin explained that a paid crew could start in September of this year. He reminded the commissioners that Pine Grove’s EMS has proved it will pay for itself.

McBee outlined that Hundred’s 30 to 40 calls out a month would establish the squad. This funding would come from the billing of insurance companies for a call out for an ambulance. “The call volume would definitely increase because right now, because people are literally loading their own family members in their vehicles and driving to the nearest hospital,” said McBee. She stressed they do not want to wait for an ambulance to arrive 40 to 45 minutes later.

Lemley also noted that people do need to call the 911 number instead of the local ambulance numbers. Sometimes an extra delay is created when the proper number is not dialed.

Mason told everyone present that they will get back to them soon on their decision.