December 30, 2015
A grand opening and ribbon cutting for the new Leavenworth County Annex will be 2 p.m. today in Tonganoxie.
An open house will immediately follow the ribbon cutting.
The public is welcome to visit and tour the county’s newest facilities at 725 Laming Road.
The annex has been at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 24-40 and Laming Road for several years.
Offices were moved into a larger space at the new location, which for several years was the home to Everlasting Specialties. The site at one time was a proposed site for a new Tonganoxie Police Station, but those plans eventually fell through.
EMS service in Basehor delayed
It will take a few more months than expected for EMS services to be housed at the Fairmount Township Fire Department in Basehor, but fire coverage will increase.
Chuck Magaha, Fairmount Township fire chief, shared an update with the Basehor City Council at its Dec. 21 meeting. He said while the city had hoped to see the EMS service begin Jan. 1, at this point, the ambulance likely would not run out of the fire department until March.
However, he said the fire department would begin more staff-on-site coverage on Jan. 4, with a goal to begin full-time coverage in April.
Magaha reviewed some of the accomplishments of the fire department this year, including increasing the Insurance Service Office Rating from 6 to 4, which he said will make the community more attractive to businesses, and hiring a full-time administrator to take care of day to day business.
He said that starting Jan. 4, there would be two to three firefighters on site from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. He said historically, 70 percent of the department’s calls fall within those hours.
“We did a lot of analysis when we placed this all together,” he said. “… This was the time frame when we thought that the community needed us the most.”
The department currently only has two people on duty from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Magaha said the next goal would be to have a full time department — firefighters on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in April.
“We presented it to our township board last month, and they’re good with it,” he said. “They feel we have the budgeted dollars set aside where we’ll actually have a full time fire department.”
Magaha said even with a full-time department, they will still rely upon volunteer firefighters.
Magaha said the department responded to 628 calls in 2014; as of Monday, the department had 699 calls for 2015, so he was sure the department would top 700 for the year. He said 59 percent of calls were for emergency medical services and 11 percent were fire related.
The city of Basehor has been asking the county to locate EMS services in the city for about three years due to the length of response time from the current EMS stations in Tonganoxie and Lansing. Over the summer, the county had finally agreed to fund an ambulance at Fairmount Township beginning Jan. 1.
Basehor Mayor David Breuer said he spoke with Jamie Miller, head of Leavenworth County EMS, and found out that between the new ambulance in Basehor and other openings in the county, they needed to hire eight EMS employees.
“He indicated to me that it’s probably going to be somewhere in March before we will actually have the EMS buggy here in our community,” Breuer said.
In the mean time, Magaha said the department has been preparing the station for a full-time EMS staff by purchasing a washer-extractor to clean firefighter gear of carcinogens, as well an air purification system. They are still working on sleeping quarters, he said.
In other department news, Magaha said interior and exterior improvements to the south station on 158th Street were underway and would be complete by the end of the year, and the department also ordered a new quick response truck, which should be at the department in March.
— Mirror editor Shawn F. Linenberger contributed to this story.
Originally published at: http://www.tonganoxiemirror.com/news/2015/dec/30/new-leavenworth-county-annex-open-house-today-tong/