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Ross County EMS Plan Moving Towards Committee Review

Ross County Planner Devon Shoemaker (right) and former Chillicothe Fire Chief Jeff Creed (left) give an overview of the draft county EMS plan to the Ross County Commissioners on January 2nd, 2024.

Ross County — A plan for the county’s EMS services is one step further. A preliminary draft document was presented to the Ross County Commissioners Tuesday by Ross County Planner Devon Shoemaker, along with former Chillicothe Fire Chief Jeff Creed.

After many months of discussion on the topic, on June 20th the Ross County Commissioners hosted the first meeting with the company hired to study the EMS situation in the county.  Now, Shoemaker described their resulting report as a working draft that he took as far as he could, but now it needs an expert on EMS – like Creed, who said it was a good plan but with shortcomings.

Creed also cautioned that now that he is on Chillicothe Council, his involvement may have limitations to avoid conflict of interest. Shoemaker said he can continue to provide staff support. (Hear his summary in the below interview.)

The next step will be to have the Ross County EMS steering committee review it in their meeting 1pm January 9th. When the representative EMS, fire, and law enforcement officials eventually approve the plan, the steering committee could become an oversight committee.

It may take two to three months more to arrive at a true plan.

The conversation among the two officials and county commissioners included:

Whether the commissioners would be willing to run a county-wide EMS, or if consortiums like the Paint Creek Fire District will form and manage themselves. (But when Paint Creek was formed six years ago, they offered to help with planning for the rest of the county – but there was no interest in that.)

One possibility is the formation of an east-side and west-side combined districts in the county. There are already “shared services,” but territoriality is a problem. And, the townships that are doing well may not want to “jump in” with others.

90% of the goal of this effort is to get EMS where it needs to be. Experience has shown that there is no guarantee that EMS can come from somewhere else to help.

More data is needed on equipment – there were 14,000 runs in 2023, but how many went to the hospital? How many were drug-related? How many times was Narcan used for drug overdoses, so that EMS (Emergency Medical Services) was used, but not ALS (Advanced Life Support)?

Also, there has been an increase in calls to EMS – as their services are getting better, more people are calling in when needed.

County Commissioner Dwight Garrett observed that it’s hard to justify keeping one township EMS and fire department staffed, but if two or three combine, then it’s feasible.

He said success will be contagious, with other joining in when they see a working system.