Benton County Fire District #1 is asking voters to consider a levy for emergency medical service (EMS) this fall to improve patient care and ambulance response times. The fire district has been sharing how it is unable to provide advanced life support and transport patients to area hospitals, which means residents can wait more than 16 minutes for help to arrive from mutual aid.
“We want to do better,” said Fire Chief Lonnie Click. “Our fire district has grown to the point where we need to provide this level of service.”
More than half of all emergency calls received by Benton #1 are for medical emergencies and 90 percent of those calls require transporting patients to area hospitals. However, the fire district does not own any ambulances to do so. Instead, patients wait for neighboring agencies to respond, which takes longer.