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EMS station renovations approved

JACKSON — Before the new Northampton EMS crew can take their place at the Roanoke Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department substation, a new sprinkler system must be installed.

At a recent Northampton County Board of Commissioners’ meeting, the board agreed to allow the use of funds from the existing 2010/2011 Northampton County Ambulance Service Operating budget for the installation of the sprinkler system. The cost of the sprinkler system is estimated to be between $55,000 to $75,000.

“As you know we have been working very hard to get a crew at Lake Gaston,” said Northampton County EMS Director Charles Joyner to the commissioners.

The substation, located on River Road, currently has no sleeping quarters for the crew. Northampton County along with Roanoke Wildwood have worked to convert two rooms into sleeping quarters to accommodate the 24-hour crew.

The urgent need for the new crew comes from the two long time volunteers who serviced the area retiring Jan. 1. The tax increase that came with this year’s budget was to partially pay for the new EMS crew.

Joyner said Roanoke Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department so far has been willing to incur the cost of the renovations.

“I feel that asking the department to incur such a costly undertaking is unfair to the department since the sprinkler system is not necessary for the department to continue to operate,” Joyner said. “The sprinkler system is solely for the benefit of Northampton County being able to house an EMS crew in the substation.”

The commissioners unanimously agreed to allow the use of the Ambulance funds, not to exceed $75,000, for the sprinkler system.