Gibbs said benefits to bringing all three services together include smoother referral processes between agencies, enhanced communication and the ability to share training supplies and equipment if necessary. “They swear there’s a ghost named Henry in that building,” Gibbs said. “It was named Henry well before my time.” Adams said his department needs the ability to house its vehicles and backup equipment in a single location. Right now, a backup ambulance, disaster trailer and two event vehicles are in a temporary location outdoors at the EMS building or at the Riley County Shops facility north of town.
Currently, the health department is at 2030 Tecumseh Road, Pawnee is at 2001 Claflin Road and EMS headquarters is at 2011 Claflin Road. Gibbs, along with executive director of Pawnee Mental Health Services Robbin Cole and Riley County EMS director David Adams, agreed there is a need for updated facilities for all health entities in the county.
Gibbs said she is asking supervisors in the health department to compile lists of their departmental needs to steer future discussion. She said the biggest issue with the health department building is the air-conditioning, which sometimes does not work in the clinic. She said that building and the Family and Child Resource Center need more storage, and according to people who work in the FCRC building a ghost inhabits the hallways. Riley County Health Department director Julie Gibbs told commissioners during a luncheon it was “very exciting” to think about the potential for county public health, mental health and EMS to come together under one roof.
“When the facility was built, we averaged around 1,500 emergency calls a year,” Adams said. “Now we’re at 4,500 calls a year.” Commissioner Greg McKinley agreed that EMS probably needs a facility more than the other two entities. Last month, Adams told commissioners that EMS needed an updated facility because the needs of the department outgrow the space available. Adams said the building has remained largely unchanged since he joined the department in 1991.
“Emergency management needs its own offices and storage spaces as well,” Adams said. “A centrally located facility would be ideal and would have the ability to allow for future expansion if needed.” Adams also mentioned how Riley County does not have a dedicated emergency operations center, which he said “was unheard of.”
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