Emergency response to get a close look south of the metro.
The Cassgram reports the Cass County Board of Commissioners authorized the study which will be paid for by federal grant funds with no cost to the county. The findings will be recommendations only.
County Board Chairman Jim Peterson said he initiated the inquiry to the state with a “look to the future” because the demographics of the cities and villages of Cass County are changing with more and more people working outside the county, leaving fewer volunteers to cover rescue calls during the day.
He also pointed to increasing responsibilities for communities with EMS services and increasing educational requirements for EMS volunteers. “At some point in the future I think the county board will be asked to help communities in providing (EMS) services,” said Peterson, so that is why he made the call to the state now.
There were two things that Dean Cole of the State of Nebraska emergency medical services and trauma division emphasized to board members before their vote: 1. There is no state law that says any town, city or county has to provide emergency medical services. 2. An assessment can become an “emotional issue.”
Peterson and District 1 Commissioner John Baroni will serve on the board’s committee. Input from current EMS volunteers and members of the general public will be part of the assessment.
Cole predicted many involved in the study will find “it will not be easy” but he urges everyone to have an open mind and hopes that communities will “partner together” in developing long-term rescue service solutions.
The assessment will be a public document when it is completed.