Responses to change

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Bob Johnson
Seat belt patrol
Iola High students who are members of Students Against Destructive Decisions handed out candy to motorists approaching the school this morning, with an assist from Iola police officers. Smarties candy went to those who were wearing seatbelts and Dum Dum candy those who were unbelted. Here, Zeph Larney had his belt fastened and got a Smartie from Michaela French. Others, from left, are Audrea Stahl, Jamie Spears and Officer Steve Womack.

Allen County’s response to traffic accidents will soon involve firefighters, Jason Nelson told Allen County commissioners Tuesday morning. Firefighters will be dispatched along with emergency personnel when a traffic accident involving injuries is reported, he said.
Nelson, county Emergency Medical Services director, said firefighters would suppress any fire that might occur, aid those dealing with injured drivers and passengers and secure and prepare a landing area if a medical helicopter were needed. Nelson said ambulance personnel typically were occupied with those injured and rescue personnel helped free victims. Seldom are there too many trained responders at an accident scene, Nelson said.
Nelson has visited with Don Leapheart, Iola fire chief, and other chiefs to establish that Iola firefighters or volunteers from various jurisdictions will respond to accidents. The change in response will not add to county expenses.
He also asked commissioners Dick Works and Rob Francis — Gary McIntosh was out due to illness — to consider adjusting ambulance charges. Nelson showed them fees charged by other services in southeast Kansas and noted Allen County was at the bottom of the list. Commissioners said they would consider increasing charges.
Keene Schaff, a representative of Osage Ambulances, Linn, Mo., told commissioners earmarking a new ambulance for Allen County before official action is taken in January, when the new budget year starts, is not a problem. Schaaf said if an ambulance were ordered Tuesday, delivery would be seven or eight months away and the county need not pay for the ambulance until it arrives. But, he warned, ambulance numbers were limited and it would be good for Allen County “to get in the pipeline.”
Osage had the lowest of several bids for a new ambulance. Exact costs won’t be decided until formal action is taken by commissioners.

ANGELA MURPHY told commissioners that work on the new communications and emergency operation centers at 410 N. State St. was “coming along very well. It’s starting to look like a building again.” The building was gutted in preparation for its new uses.
“Most of the drywall is up and wiring will be installed this week,” Murphy, director of emergency communications, said. “We should meet the mid-January deadline.”
That’s when commissioners want to move dispatchers — Murphy would prefer they be referred to as communications officers — from City Hall. All will then be county employees.
Murphy also suggested that the building be called Allen County Critical Response Center, since it will be the nerve center for communications and county emergency and ambulance services.
“I like that name, but I want to think about it,” Commission Chairman Works said.

COUNTY COUNSELOR Alan Weber told commissioners signs declaring the county clerk’s office and the van used to transport the elderly off limits to concealed weapons were required by Kansas Department of Transportation regulations.
KDOT provides funding for the van, which is administered through the clerk’s office.
Commissioners earlier this year decided not to post “No Concealed Carry” signs at courthouse entrances.