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Take ambulance merger to logical end

Changing times are requiring a change in thinking about how emergency services are provided to area communities.In Silt and New Castle, it means the days of two separate ambulance services are most likely numbered.Officials with the two services are mulling over whether to merge, or perhaps even join the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District.It’s a responsible path to consider taking. The services and fire district should follow this path all the way to its logical end, so that all fire and emergency medical services are provided through the fire district.Such mergers are common. Glenwood’s fire and ambulance services once were separately provided, but now both are handled by the fire department. The Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District also handles ambulance duties.In the past, New Castle and Silt residents have opposed merging their ambulance services. But fears of losses in services aren’t warranted. Rather, a merger would ensure that services could be preserved, and even enhanced.Ambulance and fire services long have relied heavily on volunteers, but that’s no longer realistic. These days it’s harder for people to make room in their busy schedules to give much time. Yet greater training made necessary by more sophisticated equipment and response techniques demands more time than ever.All of this also puts an increasing demand on fiscal resources. Combining forces creates efficiencies by allowing increased sharing of training, facilities, equipment and the like. Bringing the two ambulance services under the fold of the fire district would make them part of a taxpayer-funded operation. That would provide a more secure source of funding than relying entirely on fund-raisers, grants and service fees.Merging the ambulance agencies would result in one responsible for the same area covered by the fire district. Given this overlap, the residents who pay for these services and rely on them would be best served if they were brought together under the umbrella of the fire district.


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