Back-up plan aids citizens

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 2, 2008

WINTON – The forethought of the Hertford County Commissioners has paid off twice in the past two months.

During that time frame, Hertford County has lost two ambulances in unrelated incidents.

The county lost one vehicle in a motor vehicle accident nearly two months ago and then had another destroyed by fire this past week. In both cases, however, the county has been able to provide uninterrupted emergency services to its citizens.

“We have been very fortunate, especially in the incident last week with the fire,” Commission Chairman Howard J. Hunter III said. “If our crew had not returned when they did, we could have lost the building and all ambulances that were inside.”

Hunter said he was pleased with the planning that helped the county be prepared for such an emergency.

“It has been our feeling that we had to be prepared for these types of incidents,” Hunter said. “We not only have the backup ambulance, but we have the benefit of having volunteer rescue units that will work with us in these situations as well.”

County Manager Loria D. Williams said things could have been much worse for the county in both situations.

“I feel we were fortunate in that we had no one injured in either incident,” Williams said. “Things could have been much worse.”

She also said when she arrived in Hertford County she was happy to see there was equipment in place to help if there came a time like this.

“I was pleasantly surprised to come to Hertford County and find a backup ambulance and resources in a county this size,” she said. “It is so much needed in rural counties.”

Williams said the number of miles an ambulance is required to sustain in a rural county is greater than in urban areas. She also added the transport service provided by the county caused additional miles to be put on the vehicles.

“Hertford County is very fortunate to have the resources we have,” she said. “From time to time unforeseen things happen as they have in the past 60 days. Because we have such good resources, we have been able to maintain emergency services during some very critical times.”

Williams said there is no way to plan for the types of incidents that have cost the county two vehicles, but leaders should have a plan in case they occur.

“As Commissioner Dupont Davis often reminds us, you prepare for war in times of peace,” Williams said. “We have a board that has prepared for incidents by having a backup ambulance and we also have made the decision administratively to carry replacement value insurance.”

Williams said that decision led to the county receiving 100 percent replacement value for the unit that was destroyed in the accident and the same would be true for the one totaled by fire last week.

Williams said the county currently has two basic units in operation and one ALS (Advanced Life Support) vehicle. The one that was destroyed by fire was an ALS unit and will be replaced with the same.