Red River County Courthouse

Red River County Courthouse

CLARKSVILLE — After some discussion, the Red River County Commissioners voted 3-2 to equip the LifeNet ambulance that primarily serves the county with a chest compressor.

“As far as we are from a hospital, I thought it would be a good thing to have,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Jeff Moore said. “It would help the rescuers.”

Precinct 1 Commissioner Donnie Gentry wondered why LifeNet couldn’t supply its ambulances with such devices. The county recently signed a five-year contract with LifeNet at an annual cost of $199,000.

“We are already giving them $199,000. They can buy their own,” he said.

Gentry felt that if the county bought the compressor, it should be put in one of the fire trucks owned by the county.

“It should be in the volunteer fire department,” he said. “They are the first ones on the scene.”

Gentry also wanted to know what ambulance crews had been doing without the compression unit in past emergencies.

“Manual compression,” Moore said. “(The compressor) would work for the patient and the rescuer.”

Gentry and Precinct 2 Commissioner David Hutson voted against Moore’s motion to equip the ambulance with the compressor, while Moore and Precinct 4 Commissioner Danny Hally voted in favor.

“I think we need it,” said County Judge L.D. Williamson in breaking the tie.

“If it saves the life of one person, it is worth it,” Moore said after the vote.

The commissioners also are going to have to find funds for paid quarantine leave for firefighters, peace officers, detention officers and emergency medical technicians in order to pay for an unfunded legislative mandate from the state.

House Bill 2073 was passed and then signed by the governor in June, and requires government bodies to develop and implement paid quarantine leave for firefighters, peace officers, detention officers and emergency medical technicians “due to a possible or known exposure to communicable diseases while on duty.”

The paid quarantine time is in addition to sick leave, the judge noted.

Gentry got the commissioners’ support in his effort to get a new truck for the county and to get rid of some older equipment.

“I found a truck. I’m going to go check it out,” he said.

The commissioners allowed him to spend up to $30,000.

He said he would also try to auction off some equipment, so he could upgrade with newer equipment.

Commissioners also voted to approve a budget amendment that the recent addition of Juneteenth as a county holiday necessitated. They approved holiday pay for those who would be scheduled to work on the holiday.

The commissioners also voted to continue meeting the second and fourth Mondays in October at 9 a.m., but then voted to meet on Oct. 12 because Columbus Day falls on Oct. 11.

David Money is the assistant managing editor for The Paris News. He can be reached at 903-785-6964 or david.money@theparisnews.com.

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