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Emmitsburg ambulance suspension continued

Richard D. L. Fulton

(6/24) The Frederick County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously at their June 24 work session to suspend the Emmitsburg Ambulance Company for up to 90 additional days.

On motion made by board of commissioners President Blain Young, the board voted to suspend the company for up to an additional 30 to 90 days, premised on the successful production of an approval list of ten properly qualified responders.

Additionally, the board voted to hold any and all county funding in abeyance until such time as the company could conform to regulations governing the operation of an ambulance company in the county.

The county ambulance and its paid staff will also remain based at the Vigilant Hose Company and will continue to serve as the first due responder unit for the area. The county ambulance unit will continue to receive funding based on first due responses, and the allocation of service subscription payments, as per the previous (April 15) suspension.

Specifically, the commissionersí June 24 suspension was premised on the alleged failure of the company to produce a certifiable list of ten active and properly trained emergency medical technician (EMT) based on county and state requirements, the same issue that had resulted in the April 15 suspension.

The decisions was at odds with a recommendation by the Frederick County Volunteer Fire & Rescue Association (FCVFRA) that the ambulance companyís right to provide service be "revoked" and all funding discontinued.

Eric Smothers, president of the FCVFRA, told the commissioners that he could not find but two fully qualified members on the submitted list of ten (ten being the minimum required under county guidelines). "I can only validate really two out of the ten that meet all of the requirements," Smothers stated.

The ambulance company was initially placed on suspension by the countyís Board of Commissioners on April 15, on a recommendation the board received from the FCVFRA resulting from the failure of the ambulance company to produce a list of ten qualified responders (A qualified responder is an individual who lives within five miles and had completed basic EMT training, and other training qualifications).

Before calling for vote of suspension at the June 24 meeting, Blaine stated, "This hasnít been something thatís been a surprise. Iíve seen the records and Iíve seen the files. This is something that has been going on for some time."

The ambulance company was first suspended in 2004.

"I can tell you that the (FCVFRA) association is ready to help you in any way, shape or form," he said. "The last thing anyone wants in Frederick CountyÖis to sit here and recommend that a company be revoked and defunded."

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