Md. county breaks ground on new station in shift to paid EMS

A county official noted a transition from a hybrid to a paid emergency services model is beginning to look inevitable


Callan Tansill-Suddath
The Aegis

BEL AIR, Md. — A ceremonial groundbreaking held last week at the forthcoming North Harford Station may be step toward a bigger change in emergency service delivery in Harford County.

County Executive Barry Glassman and other county officials drove shovels into the dirt at 50 Pylesville Road on Thursday, the space the station will occupy beginning next July.

The structure, located near the intersection of routes 165 and 24, will include an area for housing an ambulance and crew and serve the surrounding community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will also be home to a 30,000-gallon cistern for use by the more rural Harford fire companies.

The goal of this new station is to ensure every part of the county has adequate emergency service coverage, County Executive Barry Glassman told The Aegis.

"We, in essence, now have a north, central, and southern location to provide a county paramedic service out of," Glassman said, adding " ... the emphasis on the county services was to provide a safety net to the EMS foundation and our volunteers."

Glassman said the new station is mainly needed because of the increasing number of service calls the county is receiving, and that it may mark the beginning of a change in the way the county approaches emergency services.

"EMS services have become an increasing strain on the volunteer base, and even on the paid EMS foundation," Glassman said. "We've been so fortunate, I think just having a strong volunteer system and using the hybrid foundation for the last 15 years; we've been able to delay the onset of a paid service."

But, Glassman says, a transition to paid emergency services is beginning to look inevitable.

"I made the decision six or seven years ago that we've got to begin to move in that direction in order to maintain a top level of service," he said.

The new station will be the third in the county, adding to the Emergency Operations Center in Hickory, and a location in Perryman.

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(c)2021 The Aegis

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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