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Lincoln Seeks Deal On Calls to County

WAVERLY, Neb. -- The City of Lincoln and surrounding communities in Lancaster County are trying to reach an agreement concerning the future of emergency ambulance service.

Waverly Fire Chief Aaron Hummel said the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department currently responds to emergency calls in communities like Waverly, which are outside Lincoln s city limits but within Lancaster County.

Hummel said Lincoln provides paramedics who are able to offer advanced life support, while Waverly emergency medical technicians are only able to offer basic life support. Paramedics have more training and the ability to use more tools, he said.

Paramedics provide a level of care that EMTs can t, he said.

Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler recently proposed an agreement in an effort to set future goals for rescue services. The plan involves finding and creating a new, economically efficient system for answering emergency calls outside Lincoln s city limits.

According to a letter Beutler sent to the Lancaster County Board, Lincoln s emergency medical services budget showed an annual loss of $180,000 from calls to county fire districts. Beutler s proposal stated that the city would pay $120,000 of that amount, leaving the rest for the county.

Hummel said Lincoln and the county are evaluating the current ambulance service situation.

This is a good time to step back and look at the best solution for each community, Hummel said. Lincoln will do what s best for Lincoln, and Waverly will do what s best for Waverly.

According to Hummel, the County Board is evaluating different options including finding another ambulance provider or creating a county ambulance service.

Hummel said the growth of Lincoln and surrounding communities is a factor in the recent rescue negotiations.

Lincoln is annexing more and becoming bigger, and that forces them to increase their funding, he said.

Hummel said citizens shouldn t worry about ambulance response in Waverly because residents are getting better care than in the past.

We have more EMTs now than ever, Hummel said.

The Waverly Fire and Rescue team has 41 members, 35 of whom are certified EMTs.

Hummel said nothing has changed with advanced life support from Lincoln. Lincoln will continue the service until another arrangement is made.

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