EMS talks should look to future
Eudora City Council members took the correct action last week when Bill Vigneron requested the city take charge of the volunteer Eudora Emergency Medical Service he directs. Vigneron said long-standing conflicts involving operating procedures and protocol of his volunteers and those of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical led him to recommend Eudora EMS end its relationship with that service.
Council members asked that before such a request was granted Vigneron meet with fire and medical officials with the city and county to air the issues and discuss established protocols, which Vigneron believes ignores the reality of his volunteers and constrains the service they can provide.
For their part, officials with Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical say they will be glad to talk, although stating there was little room for movement on some of the issues Vigneron mentioned -- such as children riding with parents in emergency vehicles.
Still Vigneron was right to make the request, both to support his volunteers and because issues he raised such as radio "dead spots" have to be resolved. The talks might also confirm or dismiss Vigneron's impression that the larger service focuses on Lawrence to Eudora's detriment.
Whatever the outcome of those talks, it is apparent Eudora is fast approaching a time when a full-time professional emergency service presence is needed. That isn't to diminish the laudable efforts of the current volunteers of the response for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical but a reality in a city of 5,000 set to experience another spurt of growth with a nursing home and retirement village.
Perhaps a second phase of the talks could focus on how best to transition to a full-time professional emergency medical response presence in Eudora.