The volunteer-based South Summit Ambulance crew is set to be managed by the Park City Fire District with the adoption of an inter-local agreement, further increasing the staff's ability to provide emergency medical services to residents in the area.
The agreement is similar to that made between PCFD and North Summit Ambulance back in 2001, according to PCFD Battalion Chief Eric Hales.
"The Park City Fire District has a human resources department and an ambulance building system in place," Hales said. "They have a staffing system that can manage personnel -- all that's in place."
Summit County owns all ambulance licenses in the county, and crews are divided into three geographical areas: Park City, North Summit and South Summit. Earlier this year, South Summit Ambulance held talks with the South Summit Fire District in the hopes of merging. SSFD decided not to join together, and that is when South Summit Ambulance approached the PCFD.
South Summit Ambulance currently is staffed by paid call emergency medical technicians who carry a pager and respond from their homes when a call comes in. Three EMTs are on call at any one time, Hales said. Under the PCFD's management, the South Summit crew would undergo the same training. South Summit Ambulance Operations Manager Julie Black is pleased about this.
"We will have a combined agency training and we'll be able to go throughout the county and get training wherever we're at," Black said.
"The county took care of the payroll, but they felt that something had to change," Hales said. "The management of [South Summit Ambulance] went out and determined they couldn't do it on their own. They don't have the resources to have human resources or a billing department."
South Summit Ambulance staff members are technically part-time county employees, Hales said. Dialogue about bringing the three ambulance crews together under one administrative umbrella started in April. In July, the South Summit EMT Association sent a letter to the Summit County Council requesting that they be absorbed into that entity.
Black stressed that South Summit Ambulance will still retain its name and autonomy but will merely be managed by the PCFD. The entity will still be a paid volunteer agency and run exactly the same as in the past.
"The biggest thing for citizens is that we will be able to consolidate our resources," Black said. "We will be able to assist each other in covering the ever-growing area better."
Hales said that Summit County already has a line item in its budget for each ambulance agency. The only facet which the PCFD would have responsibility for is in the oversight of South Summit Ambulance, which will still have to purchase its own ambulances.
Funding will continue to come from the county, Black said, and the PCFD will be responsible for sending in a budget to the Summit County Council that includes South Summit Ambulance.
"The benefits [of this agreement] are that, with the economies of scale, having one billing department and one human resources department overseeing the county, it will make it more efficient to provide emergency medical services to our residents, whether in rural areas or in a suburban setting," Hales said.
"We're going to be growing over the next five to 10 years," Black said. "We're excited to conjoin with [the PCFD] and see what's going to happen in the future."