With a show of hands marking an end to what had been a contentious period, City of Fairfield Bay Mayor Linda Duncan announced the city’s EMS would be able to return to service. The announcement was made at an emergency meeting of the Van Buren County Quorum Court’s Ambulance Committee May 28.
At the meeting, Duncan announced Fairfield Bay would be able to place one of its two ambulances back in to service June 1, with a second ambulance in service “only on an on-call basis and dependent on available volunteers.” Fairfield Bay EMS Captain Tim Hallett, seated at the committee table along with Duncan, corrected Duncan to state the service would be back in full operation June 6 as personnel and operations were put in place.
The meeting gallery held a number of observers in blue Fairfield Bay EMS shirts. James asked the group, by a show of hands, which were willing to commit to work with the EMS service. All hands were raised.
James commended the groups volunteerism.
Fairfield Bay EMS service was originally suspended May 5 due to what was described as a personnel matter by Duncan in a report to the City Council. In an unsigned statement released to the press and handed out at the council meeting May 5, the action was described as “... temporary administrative steps … required by Human Resources protocols for the state of Arkansas.”
At the time a great deal of public outcry in the Fairfield Bay community took place, questioning Duncan’s motives and expressing fear for the community’s safety.
At the May 5 meeting, the council voted in favor of a resolution which wold allow Duncan to hire a CPA firm to perform an audit.
Reports are that security card access to the ambulance service by its volunteers was suspended as part of the May 5 action. Unconfirmed reports have that the services computers have been parsed and all its equipment inventoried since the May 5 announcement.
After the May 5 suspension of EMS, Duncan’s office contracted with Medic One, which holds the ambulance contract for Van Buren County to provide services above what was contracted with the county in order to cover Fairfield Bay’s ambulance needs. The contract between Medic One and Fairfield Bay set the rate for this additional coverage at $460 per day and was due to expire June 1.
Van Buren County Judge Dale James asked Medic One President Kim Mann, in the gallery at the meeting, if Medic One would be able to cover Fairfield Bay for the June 1-6 period. It would, Mann said.
The Medic One contract with the county has it providing two Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances 24/7, and one Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance on-call with staff ready from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
Fairfield Bay EMS provides BLS service. It has provided training for its volunteers. Duncan’s statement included that the service is hoping to have a new training class in August “… and hopefully sooner.”
Justice Brian Tatum, Chair of the Ambulance Committee, said he was “Happy things worked out [and was] happy that Fairfield Bay EMS is back in business.”
James initially had no statement on the outcome of the emergency meeting, but then added the positive outcome with the service coming back online “Shows you the power of prayer.”
At the meeting’s conclusion, Hallett was seen distributing work schedules to service volunteers.