Why some Grant County towns could lose emergency medical services

DRY RIDGE, Ky. -- Dry Ridge Fire and Emergency Medical Services responds to distress calls from all over Grant County, but according to Mayor Jim Wells, the people of his city foot the annual $900,000 bill for every single one of these visits.

"It's 261 square miles," Wells said at a Thursday night Town Hall meeting. "We're just five square miles trying to pay for it all. That's what we're trying to resolve in this."

Wells's proposed resolution involves redistributing the total cost of fire and EMS calls among Dry Ridge, Crittenden, Corinth, Williamstown and other nearby communities.  Towns would earn service credits for taking a medic unit, easing the burden of calls out of Dry Ridge, and taxpayers would foot their share of the bill.

If these communities can't accept this proposal or reach another agreement, Wells said Dry Ridge would have no choice but to suspend emergency medical calls to outlying areas. He stressed he did not want to deprive anyone of care, but said his city's concerns are his first priority.

Other Grant County residents were worried.

"If we need an ambulance, we're not going to have one," volunteer EMT and firefighter Wanda Bedard said. "Sometimes (right now) it takes 15 minutes to get an ambulance. I hope I can keep whoever going long enough, circling the drain until we get an ambulance."

If Dry Ridge can't help, that wait would be even longer, and Bedard's patients would be in more danger. She said she hopes the communities can come to an agreement.

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