Northampton approves EMS lease agreement

Published 4:08 pm Friday, May 17, 2024

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JACKSON – A lease agreement, approved by the Northampton County Board of Commissioners, will give Northampton Emergency Medical Services (EMS) a new place to operate from in the western portion of the county.

Northampton County EMS Director Casey Griggs presented the request to the Board during their meeting on Monday, May 13.

The lease agreement is with the Town of Garysburg, which will allow Northampton EMS to use one truck bay in the Garysburg Volunteer Fire Department building to house their ambulance. The agreement also gives them access to common areas in the building, including the bunkrooms and kitchen.

The lease will run for one year, effective April 1, 2024 through March 31, 2025. It can be renewed for additional one-year terms if requested.

Northampton County will pay $1,500 per month to lease the space.

“They [Garysburg VFD] made it very comfortable, and I’m pleased with what they’ve done for our staff,” Griggs explained.

County Manager Julian Phillips said they had money available in the budget to pay the monthly rent in the agreement.

The vote passed unanimously after a motion of approval by Commissioner Geneva Faulkner and a second from Ed Martin. Commissioner Kelvin Edwards was unable to attend Monday’s meeting.

As previously reported by the News Herald, Gaston EMS (also known as Gaston Volunteer Rescue Squad) had been a franchisee under the county’s ordinance regulating ambulance service. The county, however, issued a notice of franchise termination in March.

Under the ordinance, a reason is not required for a franchise to be terminated. The only requirement is a 60-day written notice.

At the Board of Commissioners meeting last month, Griggs provided updates on how Northampton EMS had been filling in the coverage gap since Gaston EMS ceased operations. Initially, ambulance crews based in Jackson had been covering the Gaston and Garysburg area of the county during “peak hours” (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.), and other county crews responded during non-peak hours.

With the Garysburg VFD agreement, however, Griggs said the county is now able to offer 24-hour coverage to that area.

“Our goal should include EMS response times less than 12 minutes throughout the county,” Griggs said during the April meeting. “As far as coverage provided by Northampton County EMS, the county is providing quicker response times to Garysburg and Gaston areas than ever before.”

Northampton County currently has EMS stations in Jackson, Henrico, Conway, and Rich Square.