County officials voted Tuesday to move forward with an on-campus ambulance substation in an effort to improve response times.
The Orange County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved authorizing a UNC- based ambulance that will serve students, faculty, visitors and the community.
The University first suggested the station in 2009 because inebriated students create a demand for an on-campus ambulance, said Christopher Payne, associate vice chancellor for student affairs.
County Commissioner Steve Yuhasz said the measure could help improve the county’s response time to the area.
“There are a number of calls that are generated from the campus, and it would be easier to answer calls from a campus location,” he said.
Payne said he could not guess when the substation might open.
Based on the approved proposal, the University and the county will split the costs.
The University will fund an on-campus apartment on Mason Farm Road, valued at $6,820 for the 2011-12 academic year, where the ambulance will park. The cost of utilities, electricity, Internet and cable services is included in the rate.
The University will also provide a parking space for the ambulance, valued at about $675.
The county will pay the cost of three parking spaces for the emergency responders working at the site—estimated at $3,000.
The county will also provide funding for equipment and medical supplies.
The total cost to the county is estimated at $13,000.
“The move should save costs from wear and tear and fuel use,” Yuhasz said.
County officials said the location will improve coverage of the southern, central and western sections of Chapel Hill.
“It’s a part of expanding our strategic locations in the county,” said Darshan Patel, interim emergency management coordinator for the county.
County EMS hope to lower emergency response times from 17 minutes to 12 minutes.
County Manager Frank Clifton said steps like the new substation will be important to accomplishing that goal.
The 2011-12 county budget also included funding for two new ambulances and several emergency service positions.
“This is more about service, not about saving a little bit of money,” Yuhasz said.
Before passing the measure, commissioners required that the county manager approve future sites and the board see a progress report in a year.
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