Home Local News Worcester patches gaps in ambulance coverage. Berlin fire funding eyed

Worcester patches gaps in ambulance coverage. Berlin fire funding eyed

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SNOW HILL, Md. —Worcester County has been “one call away from a major disaster” because the county’s fire departments haven’t had enough money to staff all its ambulances.

Without enough ambulances, there have been times, like earlier this month when five vehicles crashed on the Route 90 bridge and Worcester County has little to no ambulance coverage.

Worcester County Commissioners have worked for months to fix the issue with the county’s fire departments, and this week a resolution was reached.

On Tuesday, county leaders approved an additional $1 million in funding to help the county’s fire departments staff at least one full-time ambulance 24/7.

The $1,006,589 in supplemental funding will allow the fire companies in the unincorporated parts of Worcester County to staff one ambulance full time, while the municipal departments will get enough money to operate two ambulances 24/7.

“Again, it’s a very expensive Band-Aid but, in all honesty, this gives us the redundancy throughout the county so that we’re not that one call away from a major disaster,” said Worcester County Commissioner President Joe Mitrecic.

County upset Berlin had decreased its fire funds

A Berlin Fire Company ambulance is prepped outside Atlantic General Hospital in Berlin in 2014.

While county leaders were debating the increase in fire department funding, Commissioner Chip Bertino brought up conversations he’d heard about the town of Berlin cutting its contribution to the Berlin Fire Company.

“If I’m understanding this correctly, we’ve made our commitment, but Berlin hasn’t,” Bertino said. “If we’re going to go for (increasing fire company funding), I think it should come out of Berlin’s grants.”

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service