Archive for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Eudora EMS plans county conversation

May 25, 2006

Eudora Emergency Medical Service director Bill Vigneron has a few words for Lawrence-Douglas County Fire and Medical.

In order to help address issues he found within his department, he enlisted the help of the Eudora City Council during Monday's meeting.

"The issue that brings me tonight has to do with our relationship with Lawrence Douglas County Fire and Medical," Vigneron said. "There have been some issues that have come to the surface that have been brewing over the years."

Vigneron first approached the council to discuss the possibility of incorporating Eudora EMS into the city.

The first issue presented was what he saw as a lack of flexibility with the county.

"We're trained to do several things that Lawrence-Douglas County would not allow us to do," Vigneron said. "We don't know exactly what our protocols are in certain situations unless we've been told we can't do something."

He or his workers can't administer albuterol if a person has breathing problems, monitor glucose or administer any proscribed medicine without the supervision of a county representative, Vigneron said.

The county also forbids children or family members to be in the car when an EMT goes on a call. This became an issue when a representative was paged and couldn't do a ride along in an ambulance, Vigneron said.

"That just proves to me that they don't know what we're dealing with in Eudora as volunteers," Vigneron said.

The third issue Vigneron addressed came at the heels of the March microburst. When dispatchers divided the city out into quadrants, Eudora EMS was not included in the system, Vigneron said.

"We were not notified of this situation, and fortunately, as far as I know, there was no call made in Eudora during that period of time," Vigneron said.

Vigneron said he felt the Eudora EMS isn't getting the attention it deserves.

"The people in Lawrence are focused on Lawrence and Lawrence growth issues and not the issues in Eudora," Vigneron said.

The Eudora EMS also had issues with dead spots in the volunteer's radio coverage, Vigneron said.

Councilman Dan Gregg said he had read Vigneron's proposal to incorporate the EMS thoroughly.

"What you're asking isn't one of those 'let's make a quick decision and deal with this' situations," Gregg said. "It's a very long, lengthy process."

Gregg suggested Vigneron open up the table for discussion with the county.

"I would like to try to have us sit down with a couple people from the council, people from the Eudora EMS, and other official county administrators and big people from the fire and medical," Gregg said. "Let's all sit down at a round table and let's air out the trouble. Let's shake them up to move forward."

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty also approved of starting discussion with the county and Lawrence.

"I recommend both the county officials and the city officials get together and work out these differences," Beatty said.

Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle agreed the county would probably take Eudora's position if it were brought to them.

Vigneron said the Eudora EMS currently averages about 30 calls a month.

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