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Sedgwick Relinquishes Ambulance Service

Posted 2/23/2017

By Pilar Martin

SEDGWICK – In a special city council meeting Saturday evening, Sedgwick’s City Council voted 5-0 to relinquish its ambulance service.

The vote came after the Kansas State Board of Emergency Services gave Sedgwick two options: either hire someone to fill empty spots on the schedule or relinquish their license to operate an ambulance service.

The council approved a measure that read “for the city to pursue and enter into discussions regarding alternatives with Harvey County for on-going EMS Service, recognizing that our current Municipal service may have on-going viability issues.”

Sedgwick has been trying to hold on to its EMS service since last fall, and has had trouble because it cannot fill its weekly schedules of volunteers. Community discussions regarding the building of a new fire station overshadowed the lack of people to staff the department. The city’s EMS director, Jennifer Cisneros, resigned recently.

“We have a longtime volunteer who is going in for surgery and will not be available to fill open spots in March,” Cisneros said. “With me stepping down, there is no one to fill those open spots. It’s a shortage of volunteers, period. There is no one to fill those spots.”

Sedgwick has been on the state’s radar since the fall of 2015. Ambulance services are required to submit their schedules to the state. There has been a volunteer issue in Sedgwick that came to the City’s attention when former EMS Director Mark Sauerwein left.

Sauerwein and his wife were both paramedics and handled the majority of calls. The situation was the same with Sauerwein’s predecessor. When Sauerwein exited the department, the lack of licensed volunteers became apparent.

“Because we have our own license number, we have to cover a 24/7 schedule. When the State Board of EMS found I was leaving, and then Mary (Conrady), they gave us the two options,” Cisneros added.

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