Commissioners express concern about ambulance coverage in southwest part of county
The flu is even affecting ambulance response times in Johnson County.
Steven Dralle, vice president of operations for American Medical Response, the emergency medical first responder that provides ambulance service to all areas of the county except Burleson, told county commissioners Monday that the flu has increased call volumes and distorted statistics in AMR’s first quarterly report to the court.
“The flu has affected the geographical location of pick ups and drive time,” Dralle said.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Dralle displayed a county map indicating the location of AMR’s five ambulances assigned to the county: One 24-hour ambulance in Alvarado; one 24-hour ambulance in Godley; another in Grandview; another in Joshua, and a 12-hour ambulance in Venus.
“All are located at fire stations,” said Vernon Wickliffe, AMR operations manager.
The absence of a AMR ambulance located in the southwest quadrant of the county obvious to the audience and especially to commissioners.
“I see a weakness in your ability to respond to the southwest part of the county,” County Judge Roger Harmon said.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Rick Bailey agreed.
“I don’t think you have enough ambulances to provide full coverage for our county,” said Bailey, who represents the southwest portion of the county. “I think you’re placing the ambulances where they’re most profitable. We purchased a shorter response time and our residents in the southwest won’t get it.”
Bailey said he has offered for AMR to locate an ambulance and have an office in the new Precinct 1 office at 3400 FM 1434 in Cleburne when in opens in June.
“I have extended that at no charge,” Bailey said. “It would be nice for them to respond so we can get it ready for them.”
The volume of calls to responded to by AMR is in the northeast portion of the county, Wickliffe said.
“Where a truck (ambulance) starts (is housed) is not where it stops,” he said. “Many times an ambulance locates in Bono or Liberty Chapel. Venus allows us to house an ambulance there overnight.”
In the unfinished business portion of the agenda, Jeremy Smith, project manager for SEDALCO, construction company for the renovation of the old portion of the county jail, reported that work is complete.
“We’re waiting on the jail commission to schedule an inspection, which should be late February or early March,” he said.
In the new business portion of the agenda, commissioners approved a request by Sheriff Adam King to apply for a grant of $63,240 from the Justice Assistance Grant Program through the North Central Texas Council of Governments for a remotely controlled robot.
The grant will also allow purchase of a direct link crisis response communication system that includes a “throw phone” to be deployed in crisis response situations.
Also under new business, commissioners approved a request by King to apply for a grant of $90,200 from the Criminal Justice Division for 40 body-worn Wi-Fi compatible cameras for uniformed patrol deputies.
Because the grant pays 80 percent of the cost with 20 percent the responsibility of the county, and because the county’s portion is not in the current budget, commissioners decided to approve only the application of the grant and to consider how to pay for it if it is approved by the CJD.
In other business, commissioners appointed Jerry Cash to the Cen-Tex Rural Rail Transportation District for a two-year term, and appointed James Neeley of Grandview to the Johnson County Historical Commission.
The next scheduled meeting of the Johnson County Commissioners Court is 9 a.m. Monday, Feb. 26, in Room 201 of the Johnson County Courthouse in Cleburne.
Readers can watch court proceedings online at www.Johnsoncountytx.org, navigate on the tool bar to “Commissioners Court,” then move down to “Meeting Video.”