Beaufort County’s EMS response strained due to mutual aid agreement with some cities

Washington

WASHINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) – An EMS oversight committee recommends the city of Washington get a second Fire and Rescue EMS unit. The reason? The city is requesting so much mutual aid from the county that it’s affecting the county’s response times.

“Of the total mutual aid calls in 2020 for all the agencies, Washington accounted for 50 percent of those calls,” Beaufort County Manager Brian Alligood said.

Alligood and commissioners said that number is too high.

“According to the statistics that were provided by the committee, there were 374 mutual aid calls that were required in the city of Washington,” Alligood said.

The county’s EMS Oversight Committee is currently reviewing Beaufort County’s contracts with other agencies. The committee is recommending the city of Washington get a second fire and rescue EMS unit.

“There’s a large amount of mutual aid calls that are having to come into the city, which essentially causes all the other units from the county to move around and cause longer response times for everyone,” Alligood said.

City of Washington Manager Jonathan Russell said they will look at budgets and work with the county to reach a solution.

“Looking for the next fiscal year, we’ll look at our funding availability and try to get to a solution from there,” said Russell.

The committee also had recommendations for the county’s contracts with Pamlico Beach and Pinetown EMS due to the towns not being able to meet the response. Alligood said these issues are affecting the entire county.

“It’s in everyone’s benefit to have a strong system and for everyone to work together to try and make that happen,” Alligood said.

When Beaufort County goes to renew its contracts with other agencies in July, county leaders hope these agencies will take these recommendations and make the changes to better serve the community.

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