The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 12, 2013

Fountain opens new EMS building

BY DENNIS BARTLOW
Commercial-News

VEEDERSBURG, Ind. — Fountain County residents can take pride in a new Emergency Medical Services building that can provide services to all residents in the county and those passing through on major highways.

Nestled up on a county road just off U.S. Route 41 south of Interstate 74, the building opened last month. It is a dream for the EMS personnel, who were operating from an older building in the Sterling area of Veedersburg that they had outgrown.

“We built a building we could grow into,” said Garth Kagels, who was named EMS director last month. The building is 10,780 square feet.

Kagels worked with former director Virginia Scherer in designing the building. In designing the building, Scherer once said, “I knew what we needed (for Fountain County).” She said the building was not patterned after any existing structures.

“We had in our mind what we needed,” Kagels said. “We definitely needed a bigger office.”

A receptionist or EMS personnel greet visitors in a foyer. Bills for ambulance runs can be paid there. Behind that area to the west are offices.

To the east of the foyer is a training room with a kitchenette that can double as a community room for small gatherings. The room may be used by police, fire and EMS for training.

“The training room is in a central location (for the county),” Kagels said.

Four drive-through bays can easily accommodate the ambulances and rescue vehicles. Radiant heat floors allows for the garage area to warm immediately after a door has been opened.

“Off the garage area is a wash bay area that is secluded from the rest of the building,” Kagels said. Vehicles can be pulled in there for cleaning.

There is a mechanical room and a shower room also off the garage bay area. The shower room is readily accessible for those who might have been working with hazardous materials. The back side also features sleeping rooms, a kitchen/dining room, a tech room and an exercise room.

Kagels said security was an issue.

“You can’t just walk around,” he said.

The building cost nearly $1 million, but more than half of that amount came from grants. The rest came from the county’s rainy day fund. No tax money was used to pay for it.

Ironically, the Fountain County EMS made 1,991 runs each of the past two years. Depending on where a person lives, the services makes routine hospital runs to Williamsport, Crawfordsville and Lafayette in Indiana, as well as to Danville. Transfers often are made to Indianapolis.

Two EMS technicians are on duty at all times with two on call. The EMS has a second office in the Attica Fire Station that handles about 30 percent of the county’s runs.

Kagels joined the EMS as a part-time employee in 1999. He has been full-time since 2001. He and several others in the department just completed a paramedics course in Hendricks County, where Kagels earned the best clinician award.

“We provide good service to Fountain County,” he said.

Coming up

An open house will be in the spring at the new Fountain County Emergency Medical Services building off U.S. Route 41 north of Interstate 74.