Medical Team Believes It Is In Jeopardy - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

09/19/05 - Wells

Medical Team Believes It Is In Jeopardy

by Ramonica R. Jones

For about five years, Wells First Responders have been first on the scene in a medical crisis. They're trained in CPR, first aid, paramedics, and emergency care.

First Responders use their own vehicles and also volunteer as firefighters. They're afraid the city now considers them a liability.

Wayne Collins, assistant chief of the Wells Volunteer Fire Department, said city leaders are wondering, "Who's going to pay for it or if we have a problem? Who's going to take the fall for it if we have a wreck or if something happens to the patient."

For several months, Wells city leaders have talked about making changes to the First Response team; Mayor Jim Maddox said not because there's a problem with the group, but because both the city auditor and city attorney requested it.

"It all comes from the government regulations to just kind of tighten up city government and it's not really any fault-finding," Maddox said. "It's really just a matter of crossing the Ts and dotting the Is - just tying up loose ends and making sure that everything is operating the way that it should be."

Without First Responders in Wells, the next closest medical units would be in Alto and Rusk. Maddox calls the group an asset to the city and insists, Monday night's city council meeting is just to make sure the city has a clean relationship with the First Responders.

"It's not anybody's desire to do away with First Responders or the volunteer fire department either, for that matter," Maddox said. "It's really to just redefine the procedures and policies of it all."

Also on the agenda is whether the First Responders will become their own governing body, completely separate from the City of Wells.

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