ADA COUNTY -- A new system for emergency response in Ada County could save taxpayer dollars while improving emergency crews' relationships.
On July 18, seven agencies signed an emergency medical services joint powers agreement. Those agencies include Ada County, the city of Boise, the city of Meridian, North Ada Fire Department, Eagle Fire Department, Star Fire Department, and Kuna Fire Department.
On the scene of an emergency, it's normal to see several agencies respond. Ada County EMS Director Darby Weston says the departments already work well together to make sure every person gets the best care possible.
"At the scene we've been doing well for years, but behind the scenes we've all been planning to do the best for our agency, and now it's planning to do the best for the system and coordinating with each other," said Weston.
He says the goal of the agreement is to make every individual agency function better as a whole.
"The biggest change is that we will have a system built on collaboration instead of having 7 systems all trying to function together," said Weston.
Weston says one improvement will be that crew members from different districts will train together.
He says that will not only save money, but will build better relationships, and promote one consistent plan for response.
Weston said, "The more you train together, the better you know one another, the better those relationships are so you aren't trying to form those relationships in the middle of an emergency, you already have the relationship."
The other goal is to reduce the cost of each agency. Weston says that means streamlining resources and equipment, so that costs for the whole system will be less expensive.
"At a taxpayer level, they can look for the most efficient operation and the most efficient use of their resources," said Weston.
He hopes this will mean equipment won't be duplicated as much between agencies, saving taxpayers' money.
"If we all coordinated together within that function the quality will go up and cost will go down," said Weston.
HOW IT WILL WORK
Two boards will oversee the new system. The chief of each agency will make up the administrative side that will make recommendations to a group of elected officials.
Elected officials from each district will then vote, with the impact on taxpayers in mind.
The administrative board held their first meeting on July 30th.
Right now, they're looking into the process of setting up and operating this new system. The board of elected officials has not yet been decided. The agreement also includes a medical directorate, two people in close communications with each local hospital.