(Posted Oct. 15, 2017)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
With the addition of a station to serve the northern part of its district, the Madison County Emergency Medical District has cut its response times dramatically.
Station 282 opened Aug. 15 in new space added to the former Somerford School building at 91 State Rte. 56 NW, London. An open house is planned for 12-3 p.m. Oct. 21.
“For the people in this area, it’s a relief to them that we have a unit here,” said EMS Chief Robert Olwin.
The district’s primary station, Station 281, is located on Center Street, south of the railroad tracks that run through downtown London. Trains can impact response time to emergencies north of the tracks.
Olwin said he has been working toward a solution since he became chief.
“It’s finally coming together,” he said.
He has the Somerford Township trustees to thank. The trustees bought the school property two years ago and, this year, invested $650,000 in constructing a four-bay garage, operations room, and conference room for use by the EMS district.
“We felt like we’d like to partner more with the district and go ahead and give them a facility to work out of,” said Bill Laney, a Somerford Township trustee and the township’s representative on the EMS board. “We’ve been wanting to do that for a long period of time.”
The township borrowed the money for the project from the county. With funds set aside over the last several years, the trustees will pay off the loan in five years. The project required no increase in taxes to township residents, Laney said.
“Our contribution to this whole program is not just to make things better for Somerford Township, but for the whole district,” he added.
The new station serves Somerford, Deercreek and Monroe townships, plus the northern part of Union township–essentially, the portion of the district that lies north of Route 40. Currently, the station houses one ambulance and is staffed by two crew members daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“We’re hoping to be 24/7 by the end of the year,” Laney said. Yet to come are a kitchen and bunk rooms.
With four bays, the new station was built with future expansion of services in mind.
“The grand plan is that one day we will have a fire department in there, too,” Laney said. “At this time, we don’t have any specific plans for fire services, but we have the space if it becomes available to us.”
The south EMS station still has two ambulances and two crews covering all day parts. No new staffing was needed to man the north station, Olwin said. The two stations work in tandem when necessary. The district also includes Oak Run and Paint townships, as well as all of the city of London.
The Madison County Emergency Medical District makes over 3,000 runs a year.