Peggy Kiefer

Grove Sun

The City of Grove and Grove Emergency Services District recently discussed and reviewed the possibility of combining EMS and Grove Fire.

“The original reason that brought up the idea was that the Grove Emergency Services District, which runs the ambulance, has an excellent department, a new facility and great employees and do an excellent job of providing medical services,” Grove City Manager Bruce Johnson said. “And in relation to that, over the last few years, we’ve had the Grove Fire make medical emergency service runs along side the ambulances as first responders.”

“Those services are very similar,” said Johnson, who wanted to start a conversation with the Emergency Services District and the hospital, which manages the Emergency Services District for the trustees of the authority about combining those services, and to add additional men and equipment to “protect lives and property,” he said.

“We were working towards a putting together budget, seeing what kind of human resources would be needed and on other details that would be needed addressed to combine those two services together,” he said.

At this point in time, Oklahoma City Integris has decided they want to continue managing the Emergency Services District. Johnson stated that doesn’t mean it is something that’s not viable, or something that won’t be revisited in the near or distant future.

“We will continue the conversations and still continue to develop looking at a combined or joint paramedic/fire district in and around Grove,” said Johnson.

Grove Fire Department currently has twenty-four firefighters, of which, seven are first responders, two are paramedics and six are EMT’s. All paramedics in Grove are with the ambulance service.

Johnson stated that people are getting the highest quality of care from both Grove Fire and ambulance district. Very few rural communities in Oklahoma have paramedic ratings, which Grove does. That is one of the reasons he was wanting to look at making it a combined effort, “to make it more efficient and more effective for the community. For me it is logical in the fact that fire departments are becoming less and less fire fighters and more first responders, medical emergency responders, just due to the fact that code enforcement, building materials and the way people are living their life styles nowadays, doesn’t make for as many fires as there were 50 or 60 years ago,” said Johnson.

“We go through the budgeting process for all the departments, make the necessary adjustments and cuts, and I have to be within budget. I address all these issues, submit it to council who approves, or rearranges my presentation and then we go from there,” he said.

Johnson believes that at some point in time the fire department will send requests for additional men. “I have no doubt that additional men are needed down there, but there is only so much money we have to spend,” he said. Additional personnel require long-term money. Not only their salaries and but also benefits for the next 20 to 25 years.