Half of Doniphan County (KS) Could Lose Dedicated Ambulance Service

If the service shuts down, county residents could face emergency response times of more than one hour.

According to a report from News-Press Now, Doniphan County (KS) Rural Fire District (DCRFD) Number 2, a service that covers half of the county, may go defunct in two weeks, potentially leaving thousands of residents without a dedicated ambulance service, and county residents could face emergency response times of more than one hour from an outside ambulance service.

Those outside agencies must respond to their own area’s calls first, meaning people currently covered by the second fire district would be a secondary priority.

There is one other ambulance service covering the county as well as a fire department that employs emergency medical technicians.

Ken Stewart, a fire district representative, said that 60 percent of its staff is leaving, and volunteers are becoming harder and harder to find. However, they’ve been able to persevere up to this point.

Stewart said it takes about an hour to complete a call. If one of the other agencies had two pending calls: one for their own district and one for the Highland district, the patient waiting in Highland might have to wait more than an hour.

There’s a few options to save the SCRFD Number 2 including signing a contract with a private ambulance service, which would staff the current emergency medical services building on a 24/7 basis.

The community could also raise taxes on another fire district with which the Highland district has a contract. Other options include merging with the other Doniphan County ambulance service or solicit donations. A joint ambulance service could work, but it’s unclear which staff would remain, or what buildings would be staffed.

DCRFD Number 2 actually runs an ambulance service for the third fire district. Ten years ago, the third district started paying more for their contract.

Stewart also said it will cost at least $120,000 to keep the current service running and to keep at least one ambulance on the road.

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