Dark, antiquated and cramped quarters are in the past for the Randolph County Emergency Medical Services. On Sept. 10 the EMS officially began dispatching ambulances from its new location along 11th Street in the Randolph County Industrial Park and its just the right fit.
Nearly a year ago, EMS Director Ray Cheney and County Commission President Mike Taylor were discussing how to renovate the EMS area inside the Courthouse Annex, located on Randolph Avenue. Although updates to the space that had been used since the early 1970s would have been an improvement, there was simply not enough room in the building, Cheney explained.
While searching for the right facility, the Ambulance Authority found the former Tri-County Electric building to be almost exactly what it needed.
A WELCOME CHANGE — Randolph County Emergency Medical Services members enjoy their new commons area at its location in the Randolph County Industrial Park. After being located in the courthouse annex for more than 30 years, the EMS relocated the former Tri-County Electric building. (CU and The Inter-Mountain/Carra Higgins) © The Inter-Mountain, all rights reserved.
Only a few minor adjustments and cosmetic work were needed. Paramedic Heather Harman explained that the new facility has been "a long time coming" and sees it as a reward for the hard work the personnel provides.
The new EMS complex is approximately 9,000 square feet and Cheney estimates that the space is nearly double that of the old building. With all the new space, EMS workers have their own private sleeping quarters that are separated from the commotion of the commons area and public. Harman said workers had a difficult time resting at the Annex because they were so close to noise. At the annex, EMS personnel lacked a fully equipped kitchen. Now, emergency service providers can prepare meals because they have all the comforts of home, including a stove and a full-size refrigerator. The ambulances are also housed in a larger garage that is closed off from the rest of the building. Harman remembers that the dirt from the ambulances covered living and work spaces in the Annex.
"It's a great thing that's happened," Harman commented.
A conference room provides a comfortable setting for training sessions and meetings. When the EMS was located in the Courthouse Annex, it had to share the meeting room with other county and public entities. Just this week, EMS members used the conference room when they hosted emergency medical service providers from the region.
They also received pedimates, a special piece of equipment to secure children between 10 pounds and 40 pounds to cots, from Christina Mullins, representing the Department of Health and Human Resources Early Childhood Health Project.
EMS employees aren't the only ones who will benefit from the location change. Cheney explained that with more space, the EMS will be able to hire more employees, which will result in better service for county residents. He also said that pulling out of the Industrial Park is much easier than entering traffic on a busy Randolph Avenue. The public can easily access the business offices through the front door. Cheney and Harman are also happy that the new facility is much more secure than Annex.
"It's just a great location for us," Cheney said.
Currently, the EMS has about 23 full-time employees and approximately 25 others are part time. Each year, the EMS responds to an average of 6,000 calls.
Cheney also expressed his appreciation to members of the Ambulance Authority Board for their willingness to make the purchase of the building possible.
The EMS is planning an open house for the public at a later date.
Copyright The Inter-Mountain, all rights reserved.