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EMS plan promising

The fact that selectmen from Deerfield, Whately and Sunderland have decided that a paramedic regional ambulance service is worth pursuing is good news.

Each of the towns now has its own version of this vital function, but each is suffering from funding and staffing difficulties.

It’s possible that combining resources could result in better service and perhaps some cost savings.

Of course, the devil is in the details.

So the decision to appoint the three town administrators — Bernie Kubiak, Lynn Sibley and Margaret Nartowicz — and the three EMS directors — Matt Russo, Gary Stone and Robert Ahearn — to an oversight board to fine-tune the idea is also a step in the right direction.

“This will be the template for other things,” Sunderland Selectman David Pierce told The Recorder. “This won’t just be about EMS. We’re faced with re-examining what a town means to us.”

The rough plan is to run a 24/7 Class 1 paramedic ambulance service out of the South Deerfield Fire District Station. Simultaneous or second calls would be managed by on-call personnel using a second rig.

A regional oversight board would run the service, and the towns would be assessed for its costs according to an as-yet-to-be-determined formula.

Today’s emergency medical services rely on highly trained crews and quick response. The first minutes of many medical emergencies are the most crucial, and this plan appears to have the potential of decreasing response time — something that can save lives.

We’re glad to see that the towns are overcoming strictly parochial concerns and moving forward.

And we agree with Sunderland’s Pierce that it could very well serve as a model for other regional agreements in the county.

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