The Northampton AD-HOC Emergency Care Committee is requesting that the county Board of Supervisors submit a planning grant to the Virginia Department of Housing community development or the Rural Development Division of the USDA for the study and development of a telecommunications plan focused on the placement of wireless cell towers and the data services involved with them. The grant is meant to address public safety telecommunications needs for the Sheriff’s office and EMS, fire services and the regional 911 commission to ensure coverage for private carrier needs, including cellular and broadband coverage. If the plan turns out to be regional, the committee also wishes to include Accomac county. The committee also recommends that the county identify federal and state grant sources that could be used to implement the plan.
The committee hopes Northampton will enter into an agreement with the Virginia Department of Health Eastern Shore District and with the Riverside Shore EMS utilization intervention program to provide funding not to exceed $7,500 with $10000 be supplied by Riverside. The goal of the program is to reduce avoidable re-usage of county ambulances for medical service through the creation of an enhanced or increased visiting Nurse program. This would be a 12-month pilot and would be evaluated to be determined if it should be expanded.
According to committee chairman Patrick Cody, “One of the issues we’re dealing with is how we are going to find qualified people to staff up for additional annual coverage. As part of that I have contacted the military transition offices, one of the best sources for outstanding trained emergency medical people are the combat experienced corpsman and medics coming out of the military, so we have an opportunity to post interests in our needs on their job sites throughout Hampton Roads and that is circulated to all the branches of the military. If we are going to do anything with those candidates, our EMS would have to have the authorization and have the budget available to make those hires, these groups do roughly 300 transitioning people per year, but we don’t know who will be available or will be interested in the Eastern Shore. As part of the budget process I urge you to keep that in mind. EMS is going to need some flexibility in the coming year to grab some good people if they can get them”.
Supervisor Hogg endorsed the program, “I met with constituents and the issue was EMS and qualified individuals. Since I represent District one, the question will be about the golden hour, and the amount of time it will take to transport people to the new location or to go to the south side for medical treatment. I have a strong concern about the level of expertise and the level of training they will have. Some of the medical personnel, if they are entry level would not be able to administer drugs, which could enhance the opportunities for those in medical need. As we look forward there may be means to enhance existing personnel as well as looking for new personnel which may come from the military side or there may be a need for secondary level or additional training within our community. We are fortunate to have Dianne Crockett who has been working with the training program for many years. Dr. Glover from the community college that there is the possibility of expanding the training program here on the eastern shore. I hope we do everything possible to see that the necessary funds and opportunities are extended to people in our community.”