EMS agreement reached

Published 9:58 am Tuesday, October 6, 2009

WINTON – Following months of debate between Hertford County government and Town of Murfreesboro officials, an agreement has been reached in regards to placing a county EMS (Emergency Medical Services) vehicle in the town.

At their regularly scheduled meeting Monday morning, the Hertford County Board of Commissioners approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the county and Murfreesboro to have an EMS vehicle/personnel use a town-owned facility as a base of operation.

However, the agreement came with a point of emphasis made by Commissioner Curtis Freeman.

“They (Murfreesboro officials) need to be aware that this EMS truck is not for them exclusively,” Freeman stressed. “We need to make sure that is understood…this is a county-owned vehicle that provides a county-wide service.”

Hertford County Manager Loria Williams concurred, saying, “(Hertford County EMS) is not set-up by districts. The truck stationed in Ahoskie is not dedicated to calls in Ahoskie. Our trucks will move to the location of emergency calls.”

Hertford County EMS Director Penny Deanes, in attendance at Monday morning’s meeting, added, “There may be days when Murfreesboro will not see a (EMS) truck.”

“I’d like to see the day when we do have EMS districts,” said Freeman who then made the motion to approve the agreement.

Over the past few months, county and Murfreesboro officials have engaged in discussion over the issue, one that originally developed when town leaders were under the impression that Hertford County EMS would operate “24-7” in the town.

Murfreesboro leaders approved a measure two years ago to begin renovations to the town’s old Public Works building in order to accommodate an EMS vehicle and personnel. That renovation, which was completed this summer, included sleeping quarters.

As recent as July, Murfreesboro Town Council members were still under the impression that the county’s EMS unit/personnel would operate in 24-hour shifts in town starting Aug. 1.

In an August story published by this newspaper, Williams stated…“I’m not certain where they’re getting this time frame from. The commissioners have agreed we will have a vehicle over there, but not 24-7, around the clock. This has been expressed very clearly.”

With that said, Murfreesboro Town Administrator Cathy Davison said Williams had apologized if any of her staff gave us the impression that the EMS vehicle was going to be stationed in Murfreesboro starting Aug. 1.

From that point, county and town officials worked out the Memorandum of Understanding, one now adopted by the Murfreesboro Town Council and the Hertford County Commissioners.

In that agreement, Hertford County EMS will use a room and vehicle bay at the old Town of Murfreesboro Public Works building. A crew and ambulance is scheduled to be at that building seven days a week between the hours of 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. However, that part of the agreement is subject to the crew/vehicle having to answer other calls in the county or provide non-emergency transports.

The EMS crew will have a key to the building. They are permitted to use the kitchen area, but are required to clean the area upon usage.

The Town of Murfreesboro will be responsible for utilities, with the exception of telephone service, which will be the county’s responsibility.