BERTIE COUNTY DECLARES COUNTY STATE OF EMERGENCY
First Med plans for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Bertie County initiates contingency plan to ensure
continuity of services, extends immediate temporary employment to existing First Med personnel, and accepts offer of five loaner ambulances from MedEx in Hertford County. Bertie County residents will not experience any delay in response for emergency paramedic service due to the decisive action of the Board of Commissioners.
WINDSOR, NC - The Bertie County Board of Commissioners met today and declared a County State of Emergency which became effective December 9th at 12:00 noon. The emergency declaration empowers the Emergency Services Director Mitch Cooper to seek State resources and mutual aid with the assistance of the North Carolina Office of Emergency Management. County Manager Scott Sauer has been directed to extend immediate offers of employment to First Med's former employees on a temporary basis. Employees will be compensated at their current rates and will continue to work under the supervision of Dr. Michael Lowry, the County's supervising medical director.
Chairman J. Wallace Perry stated this afternoon 'I think that I can speak for the entire Board, and
say to youthat our number one priority as Commissioners is providing Paramedic service without interruption to all Bertie County citizens.' Commissioner Perry also shared that each Commissioner is proud of this service and the dedicated professionals who remain committed to serving Bertie County. 'We will work through this change and our system will be stronger at the end of the day.'
The Board of Commissioners has also directed the County Attorney to pursue legal claims against the former contractor, First Med of Wilmington, NC. The County Attorney will seek immediate injunctive relief and temporary restraining orders to prevent any corporate actions that could cause a disruption of services. The County Attorney is also authorized to take appropriate measures to
address any breach of contract.
County officials received information on December 7, 2013 that FirstMed EMS was shutting down
operations in several states including Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia. This morning, the Board of
Commissioners learned of FirstMed's effort to cease operations in Bertie County by Wednesday
FirstMed EMS has been operating in Bertie County since October 1, 2013. After a lengthy request
for proposal process, FirstMed EMS was chosen to fulfill a 5-year contract with the County for EMS
In response to these events, the Board has declared a County State of Emergency in order to ensure continued emergency services to citizens of Bertie County.
The Emergency Services Director, Mitch Cooper, will continue to coordinate with the state of North
Carolina to secure resources and assets with private contractors and surrounding counties through mutual aid agreements to ensure continuous coverage for 911 Emergency Medical calls.
'County Manager Scott Sauer is hereby authorized to extend immediate temporary offers of employment to existing EMS personnel, including any appropriate administrative and budgetary measures to facilitate continued EMS Paramedic services,' according to Chairman J. Wallace Perry.
It is anticipated that the Board of Commissioners will review long term strategies in the coming
weeks, and County staff are currently compiling a list of potential vendors who have extended their
interest in serving Bertie County since these events have developed. Bertie County remains
strongly committed to the delivery of high quality Paramedic emergency services to all residents.