County poised to take over EMS for NC town

Leland Fire/Rescue was formed as an all-volunteer organization in 1968 and has provided some manner of EMS

Renee Spencer
Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC — With the current operator citing financial difficulties, Brunswick County is expected to take over emergency medical services (EMS) for Leland on July 1.

County and town officials are currently hammering out the details of an agreement for the transfer of EMS services for the 2019-20 fiscal year. The Brunswick commissioners are expected to consider the proposed EMS agreement at their May 20 meeting, with Leland Town Council following suit May 23.

County Manager Ann Hardy said county staff has always believed that county EMS could provide effective service to the area, but they supported the Leland Volunteer Rescue Squad in its desire to provide EMS in recent years. But she said the organization recently requested significant financial support from the county.

"The county does not provide municipal financial support for EMS other than Bald Head Island," Hardy said. "The county analyzed expanding county services and determined it was more financially feasible for the county to provide services."

Leland Mayor Brenda Bozeman said the town will work with the county to ensure residents don't notice a change in service on July 1.

"We have a singular goal with the forthcoming agreement, which is to ensure the continued safety of our citizens," she said, in a news release.

According to Hardy, the county has a history of extending offers to employees when any type of acquisition occurs.

"We value employees that are trained and already performing the duties in the service areas," she said. "I anticipate that I will make that recommendation to the commissioners when we move forward with a memorandum of understanding with the town."

The county also typically reviews available equipment to determine if it has a use for that equipment.

Base locations for the county EMS in Leland is still to be determined. Hardy has requested that Leland provide information about suitable locations and expressed an interest in the county maintaining a unit at the town's River Road station. She noted that the county also has a base station at Leland Industrial Park that could also be used.

Leland Fire/Rescue was formed as an all-volunteer organization in 1968 and has provided some manner of emergency medical services to the northern area of the county since that time.

Brunswick County first granted the volunteer department an ambulance franchise nearly two decades ago, and did so again when the department became a division of Leland in 2017.

"We are proud of the accomplishments our nationally recognized EMS department has achieved, and are prouder to have served our fellow citizens as a department for more than 50 years," said Chief John Grimes of the Leland Fire/Rescue Department. "We appreciate the county's trust in us to serve -- and the opportunity to continue serving -- our fellow residents in emergency medical situations. We have all confidence in the county's decision to expand its EMS services to our area, and to do so without disruption to town citizens."


©2019 the Star-News (Wilmington, N.C.)

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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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