Get informed about EMS at meetings

 
Get informed about EMS at meetings
Roberta Ensor, a former board member of Wilson County Emergency Services District 1, which provides fire-protection services to La Vernia, Kicaster, and Sutherland Springs, makes a point during a town-hall meeting Jan. 25 at La Vernia City Hall about EMS provision to the La Vernia area.

Where does your ambulance come from? How rapid is the response? How qualified are the personnel?

La Vernia-area citizens interested in the answers to these questions and the future of emergency medical services (EMS) in the community have three opportunities in February to learn more.

The meetings are:

• Thursday, Feb. 1, 7 p.m., town-hall meeting, Stockdale Community Building, 700 W. Main St.

• Monday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m., town-hall meeting, La Vernia City Hall, 202 E. Chihuahua St.

• Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m., public hearing, Sutherland Springs Community Building, 411 Fourth St.

Among options for EMS is the potential annexation by Wilson County Emergency Services District 3 (District 3 EMS). The organization received a petition in January from citizens, requesting annexation for service. This followed a decision by Wilson County commissioners to cease a contract last November with the La Vernia Volunteer Ambulance Service (La Vernia EMS), a volunteer group.

District 3 EMS levies a property tax to provide services to a little less than 300 square miles of eastern and southeastern Wilson County, including Stockdale and Sutherland Springs. Currently, District 3 is providing services to La Vernia, under agreements with Wilson County and the city of La Vernia; these expire in September. Supplementing that service are certified emergency medical technicians and paramedics serving with District 1 Fire/Rescue.

Learn more about the annexation proposal, which could prompt an election, at the February meetings.

Current La Vernia-area EMS

District 3 EMS is covering the La Vernia area at this time, under provisional agreements with Wilson County and the city of La Vernia, which expire in September. District 3 EMS is supported by ad valorem -- property -- taxes, levied on property owners in its coverage area, which does not include La Vernia.

Service by District 3 is augmented by certified emergency medical technicians and paramedics serving with District 1 Fire/Rescue, a state-certified first responder organization serving La Vernia, Kicaster, and Sutherland Springs.

The agreements with the city and county are temporary measures, which will expire in September. Under state law, District 3 cannot continue providing service to La Vernia, which is not part of its tax base.

Some other options for the La Vernia area discussed Jan. 25 include:

• Forming -- by election -- a new emergency services district to support EMS

• Resurrecting the La Vernia EMS

• Contracting with another provider.