Highland Supervisors Vote to Buy New Ambulance

The Highland County Board of Supervisors held its monthly work session on October 18.

The Board voted to purchase another ambulance for county EMS.  EMS Chief Nick Fialo reported that the cost is $119,000 and delivery is in three to six months.  He recommended the purchase and Board members agreed, saying the county’s current ambulance, 701, could then be used as a back-up.

Money for the new ambulance will come from government funding.  The county had $122,882 left from the American Recovery Act Fund and, also, $27,352 left from the Local Assistance and Tribal Consistency Fund.

The county’s current ambulance is a used one and it is being prepared for use.  Chief Fialo said the AC system and the fuel pump will be replaced, medical equipment is on order and the ambulance will be in service soon.  He also said he plans to look into grants next year to replace that current unit.   Chief Fialo also said he will work with Paul and Debbie Trible of the Highland County Volunteer Rescue Squad to see if the county can use a volunteer unit if necessary.  He is also working on a Memorandum of Understanding with Augusta County for back-up, if needed.

Chief Fialo said there was one full-time EMT position open and he was hoping to fill it within the next month and then county EMS will be fully staffed.  Currently he is filling shifts with part-time help.  Chief Fialo said the goal is for volunteers to come out and take calls and that they are more than welcome to help out.  He said volunteers are especially helpful when multiple calls come in at once.  He said he will communicate with volunteers to let them know they may be needed if staff is out due to illness or vacation.

Chief Fialo also reported that he is updating the scheduling software.  Volunteers will have access and can enter their availability, so both volunteers and staff will be on one schedule.  Two different scheduling systems are now in use.  The volunteers have access now to the staff schedule, but Chief Fialo said he couldn’t see the volunteer schedule when not in the office, even though he was given the information for it.   The new scheduling software will also track vacation and sick leave for EMS staff, replacing the manual system in use now.  He plans to meet soon with volunteers and staff on the new scheduling software and, also, on new dispatch software which will provide more accurate directions for addresses.

Chief Fialo clarified the question on revenue recovery.  He said whoever owns the vehicle on the call gets revenue recovery.  He said in Louisa County, all revenue recovery goes to a general fund and volunteers can use it for vehicles and building maintenance.  Chief Fialo is also working on setting up a new billing system for revenue recovery.

Supervisor David Blanchard said the Board’s primary goal is to provide for the safety and welfare of citizens and it was hard to follow through on that when the county didn’t have it’s own equipment.  He said they are trying to provide a service and the county equipment will enable a quicker response.

To hear more from the Highland County Board of Supervisors October work session, stay tuned to Allegheny Mountain Radio.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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