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Kan. county to build new EMS station to improve response times

Sedgwick County officials approved funding for a new EMS station west of Wichita


A Sedgwick County EMS ambulance.

Sedgwick County Government/Facebook

By Matthew Kelly
The Wichita Eagle

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. — After combining two EMS crews at one post, Sedgwick County saw emergency response times increase by roughly 7% in west Wichita.

Now, the County Commission has approved the construction of a new EMS post to serve the area.

The site of the new Post 1 has not yet been selected, but the commission approved $1,838,995 for land acquisition, design and construction at Wednesday’s meeting.

Between 1975 and May 2023, Post 1 was located at 2622 W. Central, the site of the former Riverside Hospital complex, where the county was allowed to station ambulances without paying rent.

The Post 1 crew is responsible for west Wichita and the near northwest side of the city, serving 33,500 residents and responding to more than 5,000 emergency calls annually.

“Around May of 2023, utilities were partially working or not at all, which included water and partial electricity,” Assistant County Manager Tania Cole told commissioners.

As a temporary solution, that crew was relocated to Post 20, south of Kellogg at Stillwell and Seneca. But that facility wasn’t built to support two crews, and it placed Post 1 outside of its service territory.

As a result, emergency response times suffered.

Post 1’s response times slowed by an average of 7% from June to December 2023 compared to January through May, according to data provided by EMS Chief Kevin Lanterman. Wait time increases ranged from 0.6% to 39% for individual service sectors.

“The largest increase is right around where the old Post 1 was that’s having to be covered by either the unit that moved to Post 20 or the unit at Post 5 out at Central and Caddy further west,” Lanterman said.

The project budget was approved unanimously by the commission.

“Obviously, the response times are telling the story of the need of a post, in my view,” Chair Ryan Baty said.

The design of the new Post 1 will replicate EMS Post 15 on North Webb Road, Cole said. It will be a pre-engineered metal building with approximately 3,000 square feet of space to host two ambulance bays and two offices.

Cole said that once land is purchased, construction will likely be completed within 16 to 18 months.

At the end of Wednesday’s meeting, the commission went into executive session for a preliminary discussion about the acquisition of property, but no binding action was taken.

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