Shane Johnson, director of the Logan County Ambulance Service, spoke at Tuesday night’s Russellville City Council meeting. Johnson wanted to introduce himself to the council members and also ask them if they would provide space to house the service’s mobile emergency trailer.
The county’s ambulance service is operated by Com-Care Inc., out of Ohio County. They were awarded the contract of providing ambulance service to the county three years ago when Commonwealth Health Corporation pulled out.
Johnson explained to the council that one of the things he wanted to do when he came aboard the Logan County EMS, was to get involved with the HPP group, which is a hospital preparedness organization that provides funds to make sure emergency services are ready and “prepared” in case something happens.
Since Johnsons involvement, he has been able to obtain between $150,000-$160,000 in funding over a three year period to purchase necessary equipment. One of the largest purchases was a trailer that will allow the ambulance service to provide an alternate care site.
“Basically, if something happens to the ER, we can open up about a 10-15 bed facility somewhere else, wherever it may be. Maybe at Logan County High School or at a church,” said Johnson.
The trailer holds supplies that are needed to keep services moving including a portable system that insures wireless hot spot so they can always have access to the Internet to keep communications open. A satellite and Ham radio will also be kept on board.
“What they are looking for is a place they can store the trailer to where they can have access to it anytime if something happens. They had mentioned the old fire base. I don’t have a problem with that,” said Mayor Mark Stratton. The old fire base is located on West Fifth Street around the corner of City Hall.
Johnson told the council that they have done these things not only for Logan County, but for the cities as well.
“We serve everybody.” said Johnson.
Councilman Bill Decker had a question about liability by having the trailer stored on city property. Johnson told Decker that the trailer and its contents were insured by someone else through the state.
“If the building burns down and it burns up, it’s not your insurance, it’s ours,” said Johnson.
“I think it’s great that we are getting that. With everybody working together when we have a hazmat situation. It’s really good that we do something local, let’s just pray we don’t have to use it,” said Council woman Pat Bell.
Johnson agreed saying he hoped the wheels would rot off of it, but if they needed it , they would have it.
“I know this is sort of off the beaten path, but three fourths of our meeting tonight has been about being united as a county and a city and helping each other. This makes me proud to be part of an institution to see that the county and city and all the special services are helping each other,” said Councilman Jimmy Davenport, who also gave accolades to the ambulance service. “My hat’s off to the ambulance service, I’ve seen them in action a lot of the times in the last couple of years and I have a high regard for your staff,” said Davenport to Johnson.
“I’m a 20 year EMT guy and that’s the only thing I’ve ever done. I started when I was 20 years old and I can assure you, the people of Russellville, and in Logan County, you have the best people that could possibly be working in EMS working for you,” said Johnson.