By DAVID GREEN
The Morenci Fire Department might once again become involved in rescue calls if a proposal is worked out with the Morenci Area EMS.
Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks, who also serves the EMS coordinator, told city council members Monday about his efforts to have trained fire department members help fill the gap when Morenci’s ALS ambulance is out of town.
Weeks said confusion exists in about Morenci EMS’s role in transferring patients between hospitals in the area. Morenci takes one week out of a rotation with four other agencies responsible for transfers.
This means the ambulance is occasionally out of town when needed locally an assist from another ambulance service is needed. Likewise, Morenci provides assists to Hudson when that ambulance is on a transfer.
“I don’t want to do them,” Weeks said, “our EMS staff does not want to do them.”
However, transfers account for about a third of the Morenci EMS revenue, he said.
“Our call volume is low,” Weeks said, “but community demands 24-hour service.”
Weeks is working with fire chief Brad Lonis on a plan to help fill the gap and the first step is a planned training session provided by the Madison Township EMS. The training would result in the basic medical first responder license. Personnel would respond on a licensed fire department vehicle.
Weeks said that from the EMS viewpoint, it would be good to have one of the new fire department responders on every run for continual training, but funding for that isn’t available. Instead, those personnel would have to focus the times when the ambulance is out of town.
Lonis said he would like to have three or four trained members on each of the fire department’s four squads.
“I can see nothing but positives about it,” Lonis said. “I really think a big void is going to be filled.”
Lonis said he has received strong support for the proposal from fire department members.
Weeks said he’s heard suggestions to return to the Morenci Rescue Squad format of several years ago, but that is no longer practical due to training demands and cost to the volunteers. Only four of the current EMS staff members live in the Morenci area, Weeks said.