Morrow County EMS celebrates 50th anniversary

By Alberta Stojkovic - For the Sentinel

MOUNT GILEAD — Just as Morrow County Commissioner Tim Abraham read the proclamation for EMS week May 19, an alarm went off for two EMS first responders in the room.

EMT Paige Rex and EMT Brandon Cramer leaped to their feet to respond to a medical emergency to transport a patient to the Morrow County Hospital. Their captain, Jeremiah Woodmansee accepted the proclamation honors.

Woodmansee is proud of the work his team accomplishes every day. Morrow County EMS Units responded to a total of 5,074 runs in 2021. Some of the most frequent reasons for emergency runs are sickness, falls, vehicle crashes, breathing problems and chest pain/heart problems.

This is the 50th year Morrow County Emergency Medical teams have responded with lifesaving care 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Morrow County EMS service made many advancements over 50 years. From basic service, Advanced EMTs are now allowed to place IVs in the field. EMTs are now also certified to give full advanced life support. Full advance life support means Paramedics can begin definitive care in the field and this allows physicians to begin more advanced care as patients arrive at the hospital.

Morrow County EMS Chief Jeff Sparks said the Morrow County Firefighters and Squadmen’s Association was founded in 1971. It was incorporated in1972 as a non-profit corporation with the support of county commissioners and a 2 mill levy. The budget that first year was $120,000.

The service was run out of Mount Gilead, Cardington, Marengo and Iberia using firefighters and later trained volunteers. The fifth station in Johnsville was added in 1983.

Morrow County had the first volunteer service certified by the State of Ohio with the establishment of a central number to call for any fire or medical emergency.

Sparks is very appreciative of the benefits from the passage of the levy in 2020. The most recent 2020 levy enabled EMTs to receive medical and dental insurance benefits as well as purchasing needed equipment and vehicles.

They have only a small grant from the state and 69 percent of their funding is from the levy, Sparks said. He was in Columbus at the state house last week with other EMS chiefs to advocate for the EMS services to be acknowledged as an essential public safety organization.

It’s difficult to believe EMS services are not yet considered essential, but without the designation as essential, Sparks said it is difficult and almost impossible to get state funding and grants.

Like so many organizations and businesses, EMS is feeling the pinch of inflation. The cost of supplies has increased 40 percent, the cost of a new truck increased by $16,000 and their cost for fuel increased by $3,000 per month.

Many of their medications such as epinephrine and saline are now allocated due to limited supply.

Commissioner Abraham pointed out that members of EMS teams, whether career or volunteer engage in thousands of hours of specialized training and continuing education to enhance their lifesaving skills.

Abraham concluded the commissioners’ proclamation with thanks for EMS accomplishments and dedication. He urged the community to show their appreciation during EMS week.

The EMS website has the history of the association and you can follow Morrow County EMS & 911 on Face Book.

By Alberta Stojkovic

For the Sentinel