KINGWOOD — Months of work by the Masontown Volunteer Fire Department have resulted in the department obtaining its advanced life-saving certification from the state, meaning medics — not just EMTs — can now run out of the department.
Chief Dan Luzier gave the good news at the most-recent Preston County Commission meeting. He was carrying a Zoll cardiac monitor with a hefty price tag of about $45,000, including insurance and maintenance plans.
Luzier had previously approached commissioners to ask for any monetary help they could provide to offset the cost of the mandatory piece of equipment.
The commission has been working to expand EMS service in the county and one area of concern has been large equipment costs going to waste if a squad folds. The purchase and lease agreement came from those discussions. Luzier said he was fine with the monitor being handled that way if that’s how the commission wanted to do it.
On Tuesday, commissioners unanimously voted to purchase the monitor at a cost of $42,427.38, using CAREs funding. The machine will be leased to the department, which will be responsible for maintenance costs.
“If at any point you say OK, we’ve been replaced by an ambulance service or something in our area, then we can pull it back and use it for somebody else,” Commissioner Dave Price said. “… We’ve talked that is a good way moving forward to do something for major pieces of equipment.”
Luzier said he didn’t see his first responder program going anywhere. Commission President Samantha Stone said she didn’t anticipate getting the monitor back but if it did go to another entity, it would be responsible for its maintenance going forward.
Since getting certified, Luzier has been working on getting mutual aid agreements with EMS services in Preston County. The department is signed with KAMP, Bruceton and Terra Alta. This week he expects to have an agreement with Monongalia County, which the department sometimes runs with.
Stone asked about the longevity of the device.
Luzier said about 10 years. Duane Hamilton, director of Preston County OEM/911, said it should last until it can’t do what it’s required to do — they’re made to be durable. Some of the old heart monitors were around “forever.”
There are still a few things to figure out, such as how 911 will page the department out but Luzier told The Dominion Post he expects they will be taking calls in about a week.