Riley County commissioners have given consensus for the EMS and Emergency Management to move forward with a land study for possible new facilities.
EMS Director David Adams discussed Monday the long standing facility needs for both entities. Adams says the current headquarter facility for the EMS is over 40 years old and does not meet current standards.
“When the facility was built, our call volume was around 1,500 calls a year. We’re now at 4,600 to 4,800 calls a year,” says Adams.
The department was also not designed for full time employees originally. Adams says because of this, the facility was not designed for employees to live there.
Other issues include a lack of space for vehicles, storage space, inadequate bed and office space for employees, and no conference room. Adams says there’s also no room for a county emergency operations center (EOC).
An EOC will allow the emergency service departments in the county to coordinate large efforts during some kind of disaster or major weather event. Adams says this facility would get used multiple times out of the year.
Along with these two facilities, Emergency Management Director Russell Stukey says they will also need a backup 911 facility as well. His suggestion is to either build a separate backup facility, or build a new dispatch center and use the current center as the backup.
“If there was a fire or tornado and dispatchers couldn’t be in the 911 center, our 911 calls would be rerouted to Pottawatomie County. We then would have to send dispatchers over there with handheld radios,” says Stukey.
Stukey says with dispatch calls needing to be radioed in, a delay of several minutes would occur for each call. The dispatch would still be part of the Riley County Police Department, but the physical location would change. Stukey suggested building a new facility since the current dispatch center has been at capacity for some time.
Stukey says they would also like to have the EOC close to the dispatch center, for better efficiency between the two.
Both Adams and Stukey will conduct the land study to determine what will be needed in each facility and where they will located. Commission Chair John Ford says he approved $50,000 in the CIP fund to be set aside for facility needs.