County Workers Making Rescue Squad Calls

Allowing county employees who are fire or rescue volunteers to take county vehicles to the scene of a fire or rescue call is a hot topic south of the metro.

The Cassgram reports Cass County Board Chairman Jim Peterson said there had been a “campaign” of calls wanting board members to support a resolution to that effect. District 2 Commissioner Janet McCartney said she too had received several anonymous calls.

County Attorney Nathan Cox advised the county board to “disregard it (proposed resolution) entirely. …the suggestions made in the resolution are not in the county’s interests.”

McCartney pointed out that the county employee handbook states how volunteers are allowed to take leave of absence from county work time to make fire and rescue calls with the appropriate consent of their supervisor. They can respond to their fire and rescue stationhouse as per that department’s protocol.

But as far as taking county vehicles directly to the scene, that opens the county to many liability issues, said Cox. “And the last thing we need is a truck and pup out at a fire scene.”

The county took its handbook language directly from its insurance carrier guidelines, noted Cox.

“Of course that doesn’t stop a county employee in a county vehicle from stopping to help” in a situation that they happen upon, said McCartney, “That’s under the Good Samaritan Law.”

The board members voiced their support and appreciation for county employees that do volunteer for their fire or rescue department, but board members want the public to know they have to consider the liability concerns about county vehicles at emergency scenes.

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