The Starke County EMS rig based at Grovertown is having more mechanical problems. Director Keith Emigh told the county commissioners Monday night the truck is not shifting into first or second gear. He’s not sure if the problem is electrical or is in the transmission.
The county spent about $17,000 to replace the diesel motor in the 2009 Ford chassis in February. Emigh says the transmission problem is the fourth major problem with the truck. The commissioners advised him to check into repair costs and suggested it may be used as a backup instead.
Even if that is the case, Emigh says the transmission will need to be repaired. He added the two extra trucks are “pretty ancient.” One is a 1998 and the other is a 2003. The county council priced new ambulances before deciding to replace the motor in the Ford. A new truck would cost the county upwards of $100,000, according to quotes obtained late last year.
Emigh also told the commissioners he’s struggling to staff the three bases with enough paramedics to provide adequate levels of service. He says one full-time paramedic resigned, and five are on leave. Using part-time employees to fill shifts is problematic due to the limited number of hours they can work. Emigh may go to the county council and seek approval to create additional full-time paramedic positions in order to ensure adequate county-wide coverage.