W.Va VFD concerned about EMS agency's plans to build station nearby
Monroe County Clerk Donald Evans said STAT EMS's intention is not to take 911 calls away from the Peterstown Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad
The Register-Herald, Beckley, W.Va.
MONROE COUNTY, W.Va. — Now in its second year of providing ambulance service to the Union area of Monroe County, Pineville-based STAT EMS has created a bit of a stir with plans to establish a presence in Ballard.
Perceiving the new station as a challenge to its territory, Peterstown Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad took an agenda slot in the Monroe County Commission's February meeting to air those concerns.
"Peterstown was concerned that STAT's owner, Jason Smith, planned to station a truck in Ballard to take 911 calls away from (Peterstown)," Monroe County Clerk Donald Evans said. "But that's not (Smith's) intent."
Smith wants to station an ambulance in Ballard to be closer to that section of the county for certain non-emergency transports to and from nursing homes and hospitals, Evans said. STAT also is willing to serve as a backup for Peterstown Fire and Rescue, but only if requested, he added.
STAT EMS took over ambulance coverage in Union and surrounding areas when Greenbrier Emergency Ambulance Service ended its own contract with Monroe County a little over a year ago, citing lack of revenue from the extra territory.
"STAT has done a good job serving the Union area," Evans said. "They're hoping to generate some additional revenue from having a truck in Ballard. There are just not enough calls from Union alone."
Peterstown Fire and Rescue has seen its own share of financial woes, particularly with the loss of income that resulted from Monroe's discontinuation last year of a $100 annual fire fee assessed against the county's residential property owners.
Evans said Kelly Crosier, a paramedic with the Peterstown company, asked county commissioners at last week's meeting to consider either reinstating the $100 fee or putting a special levy for emergency medical services on the ballot again.
Pointing out that the levy proposal had fallen far short of the 60 percent approval needed in its inaugural run on the November general election ballot, commission President Kevin Galford said there was no reason to believe it would fare any better in a second try.
Additionally, Galford noted that the $100 ambulance fee, which was in effect for three years, had not yielded the anticipated funding.
"Fifty percent was paid, and the other 50 percent is still in collections," Evans concurred.
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