Editorial: County wrong to close Advance EMS site; need most in western Davie

Published 9:57 am Thursday, February 17, 2022

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Apparently, Davie County is looking for another EMS base.
On its face, that is a good idea. We can never have EMTs and amublances too close to our residents. But everyone knows that isn’t possible. Do the best you can with the money you have.
Making the decision to seek an additional EMS station – which county commissioners were expected to do on Wednesday – even more perplexing is the fact that it abruptly left its station housed with the Advance Fire Department because of alleged wrongdoings – most of which according to a recent investigation happened years ago and had been handled effectively.
Sure, the county has a ton of American Rescue Plan funds available for the project; you know those funds, they were handed out in droves by the federal government in response to the pandemic. There are strings attached as to how they can be spent, but they are in no way limited to a new EMS station.
And to top all of that off, Davie County’s finances aren’t what they used to be. The county has already dipped farther into its reserves than its own policy allows. Proposed costs for a new jail increased by some $11 million, and you can bet the cost of any new building project will be higher than ever seen. Building prices may stabilize, according to the county’s own experts, but they aren’t going down anytime soon.
If that new EMS base isn’t near my neighborhood, it is a mistake. I live in western Davie, just off US 64 West a couple of miles from the Iredell line. As it is now, us and many others in both directions are too far away from that 10-minute window needed to save many patients suffering from cardiac events.
The county built a station on US 601 South to help residents in that area. The county built a station in Farmington to help residents in that area. And the county agreed to lease space at the Advance Fire Department to cover folks in that area after mold forced the closing of a station on Yadkin Valley Road. The county also operates from its headquarters in Mocksville.
Last month, the county left its base at the Advance Fire Department. A letter from the county manager made the problems sound extremely serious. An investigation by an independent firm hired by the fire department made them seem meek.
Most likely, it is petty politics causing this division. There’s probably a few people who don’t get along, or one who wants another’s job, or one who’s mad that someone else got a job, we don’t know. Whatever the reason, it’s wrong. To put your fellow residents’ lives at risk over something petty is just wrong. Differences can be settled without overreacting, which we think the county did in this instance.
One thing is for sure, we shouldn’t lose any respect for our firefighters at Advance or anywhere else. They’re good people providing an invaluable service. You expect them to come when you call, and they do, willingly, often leaving their own families to do so. And we must remember, most are volunteers.
Another thing, we should not lose respect for any of our EMTs. They save lives every day. They’ll do their best – whether based in Advance or Farmington.
To quote Rodney King: “Why can’t we all just get along?”
– Mike Barnhardt