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Towns of Palatine and Minden name GAVAC first responder

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - Updated: 9:29 AM


C-S-E Editor

PALATINE BRIDGE -- During last Wednesday's Palatine Town Board meeting, the council named GAVAC the town of Palatine's first emergency responder, which automatically placed Mid-County Volunteer Ambulance Service, Inc. in the secondary position.

During a special meeting held Thursday evening, the Minden Town Council also named GAVAC first responder.

Prior to making their decision, the Palatine Town Board requested something in writing from Mid-County. During the monthly meeting, Deputy Supervisor Michele Whiteman read a note supplied by Mid-County representative Brian Harrington, which reiterated much of what Harrington presented during April's Town Board of Minden meeting.

He stated in the letter that although the 3-ambulance organization doesn't currently stock narcotics in their vehicles, they hope to have access to them sometime in May.

The letter also stated, "I know that GAVAC has been telling people that since January, 2014, they have done 34 calls for Mid-County, which is untrue." He said that, according to Mid-County's records, GAVAC answered no calls in Palatine in January, while Rural Metro answered 1. He said that in February, GAVAC answered 2, and SAVAC 1. He didn't supply numbers for March, but stated, "In March, GAVAC did nothing for the patient."

Whiteman stated, after speaking to Harrington, "he did tell me that if either one of the two remaining municipalities at this end of the county choose to go with GAVAC instead of Mid-County, they would have to go back to a completely volunteer service with only one shift covered."

Councilmember Betty Sanders stated, "I was told that, if we do go with GAVAC, Mid-County will more than likely no longer be in existence."

Supervisor Sara Niccoli said she'd been provided similar information. Niccoli said that she asked GAVAC representatives whether they'd be able to take on Mid-County employees, as she stated, "I want to make sure we're not causing even higher unemployment in our town."

While she said GAVAC weren't willing to make any commitments, they said they've already taken on some Mid-County employees and would consider doing so again in the future.

Sanders noted, based on personal experiences, that GAVAC could potentially be more expensive for people utilizing their ambulance service.

Whiteman stated, "I'll be the first to say, I've always been a huge supporter of Mid-County and supporting local people -- but they can't keep up."

She stated of Mid-County, "What I found out, from very reliable sources, is that there's a lot of problems with equipment, with employees, with billing -- paying their bills."

Councilmember Richard Becker made a motion to go with GAVAC as the primary 911 responder, with the board voting in favor, except Betty Sanders, who voted 'no' to the motion, and Niccoli, who abstained from the vote.

Calls to Mid County Ambulance Service, Inc., went unreturned.


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