Marshall County Celebrates New Emergency Medical Service in Cameron

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Since late July, Cameron’s almost 2,000 residents have benefited from a new ambulance service after almost a year of what officials called “dangerously slow” response times as other agencies struggled to fill the void left by the sudden closure of Cameron Emergency Medical Service in 2016.

This week, county commissioners, staff members and HealthNet employees celebrated the new Marshall County Emergency Medical Service with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new agency’s facility. Marshall County EMS is operating out of the former Cameron Fitness Center, which is being leased from WVU Medicine Reynolds Memorial Hospital.

The new EMS service launched July 31 and features new squad vehicles and supplies. County Administrator Betsy Frohnapfel said the projected $1.5 million budget for the initial year of the new EMS service will include equipment purchases, employee salaries and renovations to the former fitness building to meet state fire codes.

A garage for ambulances is expected to be completed later this year, Frohnapfel said.

The new agency represents most of the increase in the county’s general fund budget from $16.15 million for the previous fiscal year to $17.9 million this year. Frohnapfel said Marshall County EMS has 10 full-time employees and nine part-time employees. The EMS service has two units and is staffed 24 hours a day.

“I’ve worked for the county for almost 19 years and this is probably one of the biggest projects we’ve ever undertaken, minus construction. It was a team effort and the project wouldn’t have happened without everyone’s input,” Frohnapfel said. “It wasn’t a quick process or a cheap process, but it was done to provide the best services to residents and businesses in that area.”

Following the unexpected closure of the former Cameron EMS in September 2016, Limestone EMS and Tri-State EMS supplied coverage, with response times ranging from 45 minutes to an hour and a half for the area — a problem Marshall County Emergency Management Director Tom Hart said has been corrected by the newly opened county service.

“This is filling a gap in pre-hospital care that we’ve had some time in the southwestern portion of the county since the closure of Cameron EMS,” Hart said. “This will benefit not just Cameron, but (communities) including Glen Easton, Fork Ridge, Dry Ridge and other small communities. HealthNet overseeing the administrative aspect will be a wonderful asset.”

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