County commissioners proclaim May 21-27 as EMS Week
BY KARISSA MILLER
EMTs and paramedics respond to the needs of citizens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Earlier this week, Iredell County commissioners recognized the dedication and service of the county's Emergency Medical Services professionals by declaring May 21-27 as EMS Week.
The proclamation spotlighted EMS with a theme Always in Service. “Emergency medical services is a vital public service; and access to quality emergency care dramatically improves the survival and recovery rate of those who experience sudden illness or injury,” the proclamation states.
The EMS system consists of first responders, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, firefighters, educators, administrators, emergency nurses, emergency physicians and others.
EMS Director Blair Richey said her team has seen a boost in calls. In 2012 there were on average 1,987 calls per unit. That figured jumped to around 3,500 per unit in 2015.
Population growth and the demand it will create for EMS is among the commissioners’ primary concerns for the coming years.
The county’s population is currently about 170,000, a number Chairman James Mallory said is projected to increase.
“We are projected to have an increase in elderly population as opposed to the young population,” Mallory said. The growth in that segment is a result of the local population aging and an anticipated influx of retirees.
One way that the county has worked towards addressing the expected growth in demand for services is by planning for the Public Safety Complex, which will house EMS, ECOM and Emergency Management agencies under one roof.
County officials also have looked at strategically placing those services around the county in aneffort to improve response times.
Also, during the May 16 meeting:
• Commissioners approved a request from Trinity Volunteer Fire Department for approval to move forward with work on the new fire station, Station 1. The location will be across the street from the current fire station and will house other agencies.
• County Manager Ron Smith announced that the County Commissioners will hold a public hearing concerning the budget at their regular scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. on June 6. The county is required to pass a budget by July 1. To view the county’s budget and Smith’s budget message, visit http://www.co.iredell.nc.us/Archive.aspx?AMID=58