BEAVER LAKE (KFSM) - The Beaver Lake Fire Department wants to expand ambulance services to nearby rural areas of Benton County.
In order to do so, fire officials say some residents would need to pay a fee of $225 a year.
"This area is growing," said Mark Finnochio, Fire Chief at Beaver Lake. "Our goal is to have a paramedic level ambulance in route in 90 seconds, and on scene within six minutes 90% of the time."
Fire officials say the annual fee would help pay for those services.
"The money that's generated will stay here," Finnochio said.
Nearly 40 people attended an information meeting on the proposal Thursday (Oct. 9) night, including Delores Nicholas.
"That's a huge undertaking, and that something we all have to think through," Nicholas said.
Nicholas says she owns six properties across the area.
Therefore, she wanted to make sure to be at the meeting.
"I came to find out more about the proposed ambulance services," Nicholas said.
Although she was concerned about the possibility of paying high fees, Nicholas told 5NEWS that she is in favor of expanding EMS services.
"When they do make ambulance runs, some of the accidents are so far out on Highway 12, [that] it takes a long time to get anybody there,” Nicholas said. “And, in that amount of time, people can die."
Right now, the fire department is fully staffed by volunteers, most whom are primarily trained to fight fires.
"A full-time component of that will allow us to be more flexible [with services]," Finnochio said.
Finnochio told 5NEWS that current volunteers can only provide “basic care” to those in need of medical services.
The proposal would hire three full-time employees to the fire department, raising capabilities of services.