Sheriff offers EMS plan to county

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Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead thinks he has a plan that can improve rural emergency medical, fire and law enforcement services in Moffat County.

He presented that plan to the Moffat County commissioners this week in a four-page proposal.

In expressing his disapproval of the commissioners' plan to hire a full-time EMS coordinator in Maybell last week, Grinstead told the commissioners he had made a budget request in 2001 to place a deputy in western Moffat County.

None of the commissioners remembered the request, and after a heated debate on the issue, asked Grinstead to bring a plan forward before Jan. 13, when the commission plans to approve the hiring of the new position.

In his proposal, Grinstead said his plan addresses several different issues including the Maybell EMS coordinator, wildfire and

resident deputies.

It's a more all-encompassing plan than the proposal by the commissioners to hire a full-time EMS coordinator for the Maybell Ambulance Service, he said.

"The proposal I've written has addressed the specific needs of EMS in Maybell and county-wide fire and law enforcement concerns," he said.

Grinstead continues to oppose the hiring of a Maybell EMS coordinator, who would be paid $35,000, in his proposal.

Grinstead thinks the salary, in addition to $12,000 in fringe benefits, is too much.

In his proposal, Grinstead says that the needs of Maybell can be addressed by employing off-duty ambulance personnel from The Memorial Hospital to cover the Maybell area during times when there is a lack of coverage.

"I would encourage the County and the hospital to enter into an agreement to hire off-duty ambulance personnel, basic EMT positions as required from the job description, from TMH to cover time slots when no coverage can be provided in Maybell," his plan states.

At $9 an hour, which basic EMTs currently make, Grinstead said the person could work 5,522 hours with the amount of money budgeted for the full-time EMS position.

"By taking the dollar amount already budgeted, you could get more than twice the hours of coverage that only one full-time person could provide," according to the sheriff's plan.

Grinstead said it's time the commissioners and sheriff work together for the better of the county.

"By setting our differing opinions aside, we need to move forward and work towards a successful resolution for providing better EMS and fire protection services to the outlying areas of Moffat County," he said. "Not only is EMS response a concern to me as Sheriff, but so is a 'timely' response by our fire trucks to the remote areas in Moffat County."

Grinstead outlined a plan that could be installed over the next 10 years, he said. Under the plan, a resident deputy would be placed in Maybell, Hamilton, Dinosaur and eventually Browns Park.

Each deputy would be a certified EMT and would have training and experience in operating fire engines, he said.

His plan outlines both living quarters and garages for the deputies and the engines.

Grinstead said the plan he has outlined is the most "economically sound" plan for improving all services in rural Moffat County.

Moffat County Commissioner Les Hampton said Friday that he had read through the proposal once.

"I'm excited he has an interest in EMS but that's not his responsibility," Hampton said. "By state statute, it is the responsibility of the county commissioners."

Hampton said he was concerned about putting the duties of law enforcement and emergency medical response on one person.

But Hampton said he has created a check-off score card that he will use to weigh the pros and cons of hiring an EMS coordinator in Maybell versus Grinstead's proposal.

"I have no agenda other than to serve the people of Moffat County," Hampton said. "Whatever scores higher, I'll vote for."

An important aspect of the Maybell coordinator, is that it will assist Dinosaur in meeting the necessary requirements of becoming a transport unit, he said. And within two years, Hampton said, he thinks both Dinosaur and Maybell will be where they need to be in providing services in the western part of the county.

"It can happen if we do this right," he said. "I want the people in Dinosaur to get the service they need."

Grinstead said now that he's provided the commissioners' with his proposal, the decision is theirs to make.

"They asked for a proposal," Grinstead said. "The ball's in their court."

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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