The Henry County Board of Commissioners met on Wednesday, September 8. During their meeting, they approved new supplemental pay for fire department ambulance personnel. The board also approved the purchase of six new ambulances and six new fire engines.
Fire Department Supplemental Pay
The supplemental pay applies to personnel working on the ambulance. Typically, a Henry County ambulance is staffed by one paramedic and one advanced EMT. The supplemental pay provides an extra $100 per day for paramedics and $50 per day for advanced EMTs. It is in addition to their regular pay and any overtime pay.
The cost to the county is estimated at $766,500 for one year. COVID relief funds will provide the initial funding. Henry County will look at extending the supplement pay during the annual budget process.
Presently, Henry County operates 14 full-time ambulances. Staff are experiencing an 8% increase in ambulance call volume from 2020 to 2021. By comparison, the average annual growth rate is 3–5%. In addition, staff are seeing an increase in wait times at the hospital. This results in less “down time” or rest for ambulance personnel when on duty. Staff work 24-hour shifts then have 48 hours off.
Other counties, such as Cherokee and Hall Counties, have implemented similar pay increases. The move allows Henry County to remain competitive for qualified paramedics and advanced EMTs to staff the fire department.
New Vehicle Purchases
In addition, the board approved buying new vehicles for the fire department. Both items were part of the meeting consent agenda.
The county will purchase six new ambulances at a cost of $1,502,370. The county will buy the vehicles from Ten-8 Fire & Safety, LLC of Forsyth, GA. They will be 2022 RAM 4500 trucks. Estimated delivery will be in twelve to eighteen months.
Henry County most recently purchased six new ambulances in April 2020. The county regularly buys new trucks to maintain the department fleet.
The board also approved six new fire engines in the amount of $3,817,954. The vehicle purchase will also be through Ten-8 Fire & Safety, LLC. The Pierce pumper trucks include three Pierce Sabers and three Pierce Enforcers. Delivery of the new vehicles is estimated after the New Year 2022.
Funding from the capital improvement plan will pay for the vehicles.
Featured image shows three Henry County fire engines. Photo credit C. Carte.