Recent discussions with citizens by the Jackson County commissioners have brought the need to improve fire and emergency responder services in Jackson County.
The commissioners are aware that there are inequities in the fairness of services to certain areas of the county as well as deficiencies in response of fire protection and emergency services due to staff limitations.
Matters are further complicated because of the need to upgrade salaries of personnel to a higher level and also, to keep experienced personnel to provide quality services to the citizens in need of emergency services.
The Commission is attempting to accomplish these goals without further increasing the load on taxpayers due to the existing economic conditions.
The TIMES is aware of a potential meeting with the City of Marianna to determine if an agreement could be reached with the City of Marianna to provide fire protection for citizens within a five-mile radius of Marianna. If such an agreement could be reached, the City of Marianna with its more modern equipment could provide fire protection to approximately 22,000 citizens in the county. This would reduce the time it would take to respond to a fire reducing the amount of damages caused by a fire. The ultimate result would be a reduction in home insurance premiums. This would also free up existing county personnel to respond even more timely to medical emergencies.
If this proposal is successful, the savings on equipment and duplication of services could provide the additional money needed to upgrade salaries and benefits of existing personnel. This would also greatly enhance in the recruitment and retention of experienced personnel, the location of other facilities throughout the county to greatly increase the response time and all around better services to Jackson County citizens when minutes can be the difference between life and death.
The TIMES has also been made aware that the County Commission is considering working with Jackson Hospital to outsource transporting patients that need to be transferred from Jackson Hospital to a hospital with specialized units.
Because time can be of the utmost importance based on one’s medical condition, a timely response to a patient’s need to be transported when the call is made by the hospital is essential to those patients. There may be a timely delay in transporting a patient based on emergencies in the county that may be occurring at the same time.
The county commissioners are to be commended for addressing a problem that is long overdue.
The exploring of possibilities is a start to remedying the existing problems with the upgrading of salaries, personnel retention, timely services to all parts of the county, and better quality of services to the citizens of Jackson County.
With the elimination of the duplication of services and eliminating equipment costs, this may can be accomplished without additional burden to the taxpayers.