Basehor ‘gaining traction’ in push for EMS expansion
After three years of asking the county to expand its EMS services in Basehor, city officials believe they are finally gaining traction.
Basehor Mayor David Breuer and City Administrator and Police Chief Lloyd Martley say they think they have a solid argument for EMS expansion to bring to the county as it budgets for 2016, after working to solve two issues that have been barriers in the past. An ambulance stationed in Basehor would improve response times in Basehor and in southern Leavenworth County as a whole, they say, and they hope that the citizens will let county commissioners know they want the change.
“The county commisisoners in the last year... they understand that they’re going to have to do something here fairly soon,” Breuer said. “And we’re just trying to support them with data and make it easier for them to say yes.”
Breuer said city officials have had good dialogue with Fairmount Township Fire Department, which has agreed to house an ambulance. Officials also spoke with Jamie Miller, director of Leavenworth County EMS, who believes that the county could station one of its three reserve ambulances in Basehor, saving the county the cost of buying a new ambulance.
Now, Martley says Miller is requesting $240,000 in the 2016 budget to cover the cost of additional staff for an ambulance in Basehor.
“Those were two of the key issues that Leavenworth County came to us with: how do we buy an ambulance and where do we house it,” Martley said. “We’ve got those two issues solved, so the last issue that needs to be addressed is the staffing of the ambulance, because it’s a 24-hour, 365 days a year service ... but we certainly feel the numbers support the citizens getting on board with pushing this thing through.”
Since 2008, the overall call volume for the county’s EMS services has increased 20 percent. And in Basehor alone in 2014, there were 230 calls, with response times for about half of the calls of 6 to 15 minutes.
“Even Leavenworth County has acknowledged that that is excessive,” Martley said. “They need to get that time reduced because it’s obviously a safety factor — if someone is having a heart attack, you’ve got a 4- to 6-minute window to revive them, or the complications become much greater.”
Breuer and Martley also point to the city’s population growth, with another 48-unit senior living facility proposed for construction in the next year and growing programs at the Field of Dreams, as supporting factors for expansion. They said the Fairmount Township department is an ideal location because of its proximity to four Basehor-Linwood USD 458 schools.
The county currently runs four ambulance locations for its EMS services: two in Leavenworth, one in Lansing and one in Tonganoxie.
“So if something happens in Basehor, you’ve either got a 10-mile drive from Tonganoxie to get here or a 10-mile drive from Lansing to get here,” Martley said.
Basehor city officials also have met with the county commissioners and county manager to lay out the numbers, and they know the county manager is currently reviewing funding requests from the county’s various departments. Martley acknowledged that the county commissioners have agreed that EMS expansion is a priority in the past, but they have yet to support it with funding.
“They fully know where we’re at as far as the push on this item from the citizens,” Martley said. “They’ve been contacted, they’ve received correspondence from citizens in Basehor already as far as the need for an EMS unit.”
And when the commission discusses the 2016 budget in the coming months, city officials plan to be there, and they’re going to encourage citizens to show up, as well, or at least contact the county commission. Breuer says they plan to put out information regarding EMS services via the city’s website and social media, as well as through the Basehor Community Library and USD 458.
“We’re really trying to get the citizens behind this issue, because we feel that is going to be a huge factor in the county commissioners realizing that we feel like this is a very serious issue,” Martley said. “... After three years, we’re at the point right now where we feel this is the time to make it happen.”