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CareFlite awarded contract ; Ferris EMS crew leaves disgruntled

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CareFlite awarded contract ; Ferris EMS crew leaves disgruntled


The Ellis County Press


"We will not officially turn the operations of ambulance service over to CareFlite until we have our ambulance decommissioned and out of service," said City Manager Eric Str-ong.

Erik Hatfield, owner of Big Time Computer Outlet and resident of Ferris, gave an opening presentation before the contract was to be decided causing many in the audience to become disgruntled.

" Personally, I don’t want my tax dollars going towards a department or service that feels as though they are owed something and feel that they can hold the citizens of Ferris hostage by threatening to quit if the EMS service is outsourced to CareFlite," said Hatfield.

After back and forth amendment changes, the services were fully agreed upon all council members with the only opposing vote from Place 4 Councilman Gary Ross.

"I don’t care what you do, I’m not going to be part of risking people’s lives," said Ross.

CareFlite and the city of Ferris EMS have been dueling over the contract since the council started working on their upcoming budget earlier this summer.

"I am there from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or someone is, but 5 p.m. to midnight is really hard to staff," said Fire Chief Eddie Duran.

The contract the city will sign with CareFlight will provide emergency coverage for the city 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Duran showed concern over nobody being available to help transport a patient with CareFlite.

"It’s critical someone needs to be with the person who is bagging and doing chest compressions, it’s too much work and will wear you out," said Duran.

CareFlite President and CEO Jim Swartz reported the number one cause of death among EMS workers in the United States is standing up in the back of moving vehicles.

"Within the next year or so we will have the latest and greatest machines [to handle chest compressions]," said Swartz.

The council would like to continue first response capabilities and instructed the city to outline a policy outlining the types of incidents in which they would provide first responders.

"If needed, when needed, for relief, vacation, etc. I would like to set aside extra monies for some additional part time help [for fire dept.]," said Place 5 Councilwoman Carol Wright.

Duran said he would be able to manage with whatever was given to him.

Strong said he would be able to work things out and bring back an amended budget to the next meeting for one full time firefighter, in addition to the chief, and enough money in part-time salaries to continue to have one person on staff seven days a week from the hours of 8 a. m to midnight. 

The full budget for all city departments will be adopted in September.

FERRIS – Effective no later than the new fiscal year of 2010-2011, which starts Oct.1, the city entered an agreement with CareFlite to provide 24 hour ambulance service to the city of Ferris and to begin the process of decommissioning the city of Ferris ambulance.

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