Belhaven transitions into county EMS service

Published 12:35 am Saturday, November 19, 2016

BELHAVEN — County-run EMS coverage for the Belhaven/Pantego area is operating smoothly, according to Glenn Mercer, acting director for Beaufort County EMS.

“As far as countywide EMS, it’s going on pretty well I think,” Mercer told the Belhaven Board of Aldermen at Monday night’s meeting.

In May, White Oak EMS decided to end its private service contract and hand off EMS coverage of the Belhaven/Pantego area to the county. Since then, Beaufort County EMS has worked to maintain an intermediate-level, county-owned ambulance in Belhaven, along with a paramedic-level Quick Response Vehicle stationed in Bath.

Mercer reported that there have been 168 calls from the Belhaven area since June 1, and he said response times have improved.

Previous county EMS Director John Flemming said in May that the county’s new plan is one of resource management. To improve response time to Belhaven/Pantego, Flemming outlined a plan for truck staging: if the Belhaven truck is on call, the Medic-3 QRV moves to Northeast Elementary School, and the intermediate-level EMS-6 moves to the Bath Community EMS building; if the Belhaven truck and EMS-6 are on call, Medic-3 would move to the Hess station in Belhaven; if the Belhaven truck and Medic-3 are on call, EMS-6 moves to Northeast Elementary School; and if all three are on call, the next-closest unit will be dispatched.

Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal said Monday he is still concerned about the current truck being unable to physically fit into the Belhaven station. Mercer responded that the county is working on switching out that truck with the EMS-6 truck for use in Belhaven, and using the current truck as backup.

Town Manager Woody Jarvis also said Belhaven has bought the radios necessary for the county’s new 911 communications system, and is now awaiting the go-ahead.

“We’re waiting for the sheriff’s office to give us final word that they’re ready to take us,” Jarvis said.

The Board of Aldermen commended Mercer for Beaufort County EMS’ hard work and taking care of the Belhaven/Pantego area.

“We’re glad to be here. We’re glad to be of service to the Belhaven community,” Mercer said. “Our paramedics and EMTs are providing the most quality care possible.”