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EMS should be ‘slash’ proof

The funding for the Harrison County Emergency Medical Services is an expensive endeavor each year for the county council, but the EMS is one program where we know we get what we pay for.
The EMS staff opened its new facility, located on the southeast corner of the Harrison County Hospital campus in Corydon, to the public for an open house Saturday, Oct. 2. The almost $1 million facility matches the quality of service offered and performed by the county’s EMS. The cost of EMS is normally in the $600,000-to-$800,000-per-year range depending on how many runs accumulate over the course of 12 months.
The way the county spends its riverboat gaming funds is often argued and debated, but few can criticize the willingness of the council to use gaming funds to help pay for emergency services. We never know when emergency vehicles may have the need to pull into our driveway or answer our emergency calls.
Like Commissioner Carl (Buck) Mathes said at the open house; he’s always supported funding for the services and always will.
‘So, drive fast,’ he joked to the EMS personnel.
One of the building’s best uses is its training room. Director Gary Kleeman said it is used frequently, and in fact, emergency responder Tony Combs was leading a class during the open house Saturday morning.
The building is almost 8,000 square feet is size and, other than the training room, it includes a four-bay garage, supply room and space for the Emergency Management Agency’s event trailer. The facility’s location is also ideal, to go along with the southern station in Elizabeth and the northern site in New Salisbury. The building at the old hospital on Atwood Street made it impossible to avoid the traffic light congestion through Corydon before going on a run. An ambulance would sit idle at the Cowboy’s gas station along Quarry Road to avoid the congestion, but with the new building, that’s not necessary.
Many of the high-tech features of the building are impressive, and I’m sure Kleeman would love to show them off if asked. One such function is the doors to the facility, which will lock automatically if the responders are in a rush preparing for a run and forget to lock-up.
Even though the cost of EMS is difficult for the council to swallow each and every year, it should be the last place to look for budget cuts.