Roll OutPublished 9:25am Tuesday, October 1, 2013
WINDSOR – When the vehicles of First Med Emergency Services roll out today (Tuesday) from three Bertie County locations, everything should be in place for a smooth transition to the county’s first all-paid EMS service.
With all three locations (Colerain, Windsor, and Aulander) going into operation as midnight, the process has kept county emergency as well as First Med personnel busy leading up to today’s start.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held at the Aulander dispatch location this morning shortly after 10 a.m. which the public is invited to attend.
First Med EMS, which was approved to be the county’s EMS provider back in July and signed the contract one month later, is a leading provider of Non-Emergent Transportation, operating in six states from over 65 locations.
First Med maintains a fleet of over 600 vehicles with state of the art equipment and communication platforms. In Bertie County First Med EMS will provide Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support transport services.
Last Thursday at a special meeting of the county’s Board of Commissioners, two remaining items of business were discussed, considered and approved.
First Med first informed County Emergency Services Director Mitch Cooper that they were seeking a reduction in their liability insurance from $5 million to $3 million and requested approval of such from the Commissioners.
Commissioner John Trent stated that the county should stick to their umbrella coverage at the higher amount while Commissioner Ron Wesson wondered what risk was involved in the reduction request.
Assistant County Attorney Jonathan Huddleston explained the umbrella coverage.
“It’s usually not that expensive to get and it limits further liability,” Huddleston stated. “If you have an accident what you want to avoid is a situation where the coverage get stripped and the damages to the individual injured are greater than what the liability coverage and the umbrella coverage would cover.”
Huddleston says that the $5 million liability contract would better protect both First Med and the county.
The commissioners later voted to approve the contract with the coverage remaining at the higher insurance amount.
Also approved were the EMS locations in the three townships where the equipment and personnel will be housed. All three units will eventually occupy the former locations of the town Rescue Squads.
“They’re $1 leases for 5 years,” said attorney Huddleston.
Under the lease agreement, the facilities will be maintained by the townships; including ventilation, air conditioning, electric, and water and First Med would be responsible for the personal property insurance and would not be exempt from property taxes.
The lease period begins today (Oct. 1) except in Windsor where First Med will not move into the current location of Windsor Rescue Squad until Dec. 1. Until that time the company will lease space at Coleman Lumber Company for a period of 70 days, begun on Sept. 25, at a one-time lease fee of $1,200.
“They will receive taxes and tag notices,” said Huddleston. “They’ll take care of that and that will be separate from the leases.”
The commissioners voted to give board chair Wallace Perry the authority to sign the leases for all three EMS locations, which was done so prior to today.