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$61K Sought to Replace Ambulance

By Staff | Jun 24, 2015

Jimmy Colvin, President of the Wetzel County Emergency Ambulance Authority, Inc., approached the Wetzel County Commission Tuesday, June 16 to request $61,000 for a replacement ambulance.

A letter to the commission, signed by Colvin, explained that in January 2015 the agency wrecked one of their 4×4 ambulances on icy roads while responding to a motor vehicle accident on Route 7. None of the agency’s crew members were injured; furthermore, the injured patient from the original accident was transported to the hospital by Hundred EMS station ambulance crew.

Wetzel County Emergency Ambulance Authority operates six ambulances within Wetzel County from four different ambulance stations. Prior to the January accident, the authority did have a 4×4 ambulance at each of their ambulance stations.

The authority’s insurance adjuster states that the wrecked vehicle is not recommended to be repaired due to the age (2001) model and the damage to the vehicle.

Colvin explained, through the letter, that the authority would like to replace the damaged ambulance with a new 4×4 van style ambulance. In January, the preliminary estimate for a replacement ambulance was $85,656. The insurance reimbursement from the damaged ambulance was $22,028. The wrecked ambulance was sold a private individual for $1,500. This total of $23,528 leaves a balance of $62,127 for a new ambulance.

Colvin explained that the board members of the authority are made up of eleven volunteers who meet on a quarterly basis.

The composition of the board is made up of Wetzel County residents, representing two members from each of the operating ambulance stations, one representing the local hospital emergency room staff, county fire departments, 911 dispatch center, senior citizen, and an area business person. Day to day operations is managed by the EMS Director who is a career employee approved by the board. The board has a president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. The ambulances are staffed by both volunteer EMT’s and volunteer Paramedics along with paid, career personal.

The Wetzel County Emergency Ambulance Authority is a 501c3 non-profit corporation and during calendar year 2014, they made 3,368 ambulance calls. Due to the area in West Virginia, they need to find a 4×4 ambulance on numerous emergency calls.

Colvin described the registration process for US Grants as taking “quote a bit of time.” However, on Feb. 6, 2015, the ambulance authority was qualified to begin the grant process. As of June 16, the authority had applied for 24 different grants. They were turned down on nine of the grant application requests.

Colvin also explained that the previous week the authority had learned of a pending change notice to current ambulance specifications.

Ambulances ordered after July 1 will realize an increase of $5,0000 to $10,0000 and the electric Power Load Coat will increase by $20,000. Ambulances ordered prior to July 1 are exempt from the new regulation.

Commission President Bob Gorby said the commission would not have their fund balance available until the end of July. Colvin responded it would take six weeks to install the four-wheel-drive unit after the ambulance is purchased. Furthermore, he said Wetzel EMS would be covering the county fair, as well as high school football games in August, which would cause a need for more ambulances.

Commissioner Don Mason remarked that the ambulance authority had run a public donation campaign. Colvin said that no donations were received from this campaign. Also, in regards to grants, many have restrictions and can only pay up to $5,000.

The commission did not make any decision in regards to Wetzel EMS’ request that day.

In another matter, the commission requested a letter from the Folsom Fire Department regarding a request the department made for funds to purchase a light plant.

Jim Glasscock of the department informed the commission that lighting is a big issue when responding to vehicle accidents at night.

“Someone is going to get hurt or killed,” Glasscock explained, adding the department had received a quote for $8,000 for a new light plant.

The commission did not make a decision on the matter, as they are awaiting a letter of request from the fire department.