Board of Supervisors hears funding request for volunteer EMTs
By MEGAN COOPER
Mt. Pleasant News
“The community is in need of these volunteers,” said Dan Walderbach, EMS services director, during the Henry County Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday morning.
Walderbach was referring to EMT volunteers/first responders in several towns of Henry County.
“We need more funding for these volunteers because we need them when they go to calls. Mt. Union and Olds don’t have first responders, and so having them in other towns in the county is a necessity,” said Walderbach. “They are such a vital part.”
The programs are funded through the state. The county does provide some funding as well, but according to Walderbach, most of the money goes to training, which means little is left for everything else.
“We need the training, and so that’s where a majority of the money goes. Winfield used its funding on two people who were sent to training and some new jump kits. New London sent three responders to class and other supplies they needed. Wayland sent one responder to training and other supplies. Trenton and Hillsboro spent a majority of their funding on insurance/liability and equipment needed. Salem bought a new defibrillator and new coats for the EMTs. Mt. Pleasant fire bought a new AED, which is a lifesaver,” Walderbach said.
All in all, Walderbach said that more funding would be appreciated and needed. “There will be a return investment for more funding. As long as we provide the classes/training, there will be no excuse for them to be short on education. So, would more funding help? You bet,” Walderbach said.
“The equipment in the medical field is not cheap. A new AED is anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500. Those are needed though because it takes us 17 minutes to get to Winfield, so having first responders there and having the equipment makes a difference. It can change a lot,” said Walderbach.
“We really appreciate the communication,” vice-chairman Marc Lindeen told Walderbach.
Sarah Berndt, Central Point of Coordination (CPC) administrator for Henry County, discussed her monthly update with the board.
“We may need to look at a new case management because of the redesign this year,” said Berndt. “We need to look at other providers and see what we can do.”
The board, after more discussion with Berndt and Louisa County CPC, Pat Colthurst, decided to go with whatever Berndt suggests.
“After this many years, we know to listen to our CPC,” joked Lindeen.
The Henry County Board of Supervisors will meet again on Tuesday, Dec. 24, at 9 a.m. in the board room of the court house.