[cifnmedia] Committee backtracks on ambulance changes

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 7 May 2004 21:54:39 -0700 (PDT)

Local News 

Committee backtracks on ambulance changes

By BILL GRIMES, Daily News
Effingham County officials are backtracking from a recommendation made last 
month by the Ad Hoc Ambulance Committee that proposed sending all county 911 
calls to one ambulance service.

Instead, the Public Safety Committee of the Effingham County Board agreed 
Friday to continue funneling calls to the three existing paramedic services, 
pending further discussions with Effingham County State's Attorney Ed Deters. 
While all three services serve the entire county, the county Emergency 
Telephone Systems (911) Board has assigned each service a certain section of 
the county.

The Ad Hoc committee recommended the switch to one service on grounds three 
existing services were unable to pay competitive wages to their paramedics, an 
assertion disputed by some emergency service professionals.

"I think we could put together a plan where we don't have to eliminate any 
service," said county board chairman Leonard Waldhoff, who added he felt it was 
improper to tamper with private businesses in the way that the Ad Hoc committee 
had suggested.

"I believe in the free enterprise system," Waldhoff said. "I hate to eliminate 
any competition."

But Waldhoff added that no new services would be allowed to receive 911 calls. 
And, he added that he would recommend the formation of an oversight committee 
to oversee ambulance service throughout the county - a recommendation also made 
by the Ad Hoc committee.

In addition, three other ambulance services that do not offer paramedic 
services would no longer receive any 911 calls from the county. However, Ad Hoc 
committee chairman Nick Althoff said the public could still utilize those 
services by dialing the seven-digit number for the desired services.

Effingham Advanced Ambulance Service, Effingham City-County Ambulance and 
Altamont Ambulance Service are the county's three ambulance services that 
utilize paramedics, while Gieseking Ambulance Service and ambulance services 
from the Tri-County and Stewardson Fire Protection Districts are nonparamedic 
services that have covered relatively small portions of the county.

Public Safety Committee member Bob Shields said the process of attrition could 
pare down the number of paramedic services in the county.

"That would be better than saying 'you're in and you're out,' which is 
repulsive to everybody," Shields said.

Waldhoff said that Deters would be key in the development of the ordinance in 
its final form.

"We'll try to get together with the state's attorney and see where we come 
out," the chairman said.

Waldhoff noted that the Ad Hoc committee has twice in the last four years 
recommended funneling calls to one service. He added that the committee, of 
which he is a member, has served its purpose as an advisory panel to the county 
board on the issue.

"I feel that they have done the assignment we requested they do," the chairman 

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 132 or 


Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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