Duck establishes new ambulance policy

Published 11:08 am Sunday, June 28, 2020

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Ambulance deployment and continued work on next year’s operating budget highlighted the June 17 Duck Town Council mid-month meeting.

After a lengthy June 3 Duck Town Council discussion on the benefits and obstacles of having an ambulance stationed in Duck, town staff was directed to develop an ambulance deployment strategy for high traffic periods in Duck.

During Thursday’s reconvened afternoon meeting, Duck Fire Chief Donna Black advised that she had met with Dare County Emergency Medical Services director Jennie Collins and the two worked out an EMS deployment strategy for the town.

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The policy, according to Black, provides that any time the fire chief or other department officer in charge identifies a traffic condition that could negatively impact EMS response times, they may contact the Dare EMS operations supervisor and inform them of that condition. In addition, as part of a mass gathering event, pre-planning where public safety agencies may need to address specific event hazards an incident action plan for all public safety needs will be developed by the agencies involved.

At the other end, the Dare County EMS operations supervisor will evaluate the county’s EMS system call load and resource availability. If an ambulance is available, space will be made available and it can be assigned to the Duck Fire Department. Any issues that arise or operational changes that need adjustment will be brought to the attention of the Chiefs of both agencies.

Black pointed out that the policy is a primarily and overall strategy minus a lot of details in order to allow for flexibility based on traffic, weather or event conditions.

In response, Rob Mooney voiced his concern that the policy as presented does not address the problem at hand: immediate ambulance access for people at the north end of town since there is typically a long wait.

On hand to provide an overall view of county operations, Dare County manager Bobby Outten said having an ambulance in Duck is really only good for one call.

Mooney advised that with only one way in and one way out of Duck, it was beneficial for the person getting that first call.

Explaining further, Outten said that first call makes a difference to other people as well. Every time an emergency call goes out, the remaining vehicles are redeployed to maximize response times.

Much like a game of musical chairs with ambulances, there is an ongoing process with vehicle positions reevaluated and being shifted with every call.

Outten pointed out that often limited resources determine placement, but the goal is to make responses better all over the county.

“Extreme areas are always a problem,” Outten continued. “But if you deploy to the extremes then the hub suffers. Staff constantly monitoring vehicle positions and trying to anticipate areas of need for deployment.

Black advised that initially the policy would be looking at Saturday and Sunday first, then branching out as needed.

Another carryover item included work on the proposed fiscal year 2021 budget.

After discussing the anticipated occupancy tax amounts, capital improvement plan, beach nourishment municipal service district and improvements to the multi-use path in the Sanderling area, council held a brief meeting Thursday and adopted a $10,598,070 budget.

The additional $364,409 over the budget introduced in May included a revenue neutral rate adjustment for the MSDs and $100,000 for maintenance and upkeep of the Duck Trail multi-use path in the Sanderling area of Duck.

Other business included in the Wednesday afternoon meeting was the approval of a $398,491.75 contract for design and environmental permitting services by Coastal Protection Engineering of North Carolina, Inc. as part of the town’s 2022 beach nourishment project.

CPE-NC will be charged with handling a majority of the work leading up to the nourishment project including environmental documentation, seeking permit applications, providing agency coordination during the permitting stage, conducting beach fill engineering analysis and design of borrow areas, investigating borrow areas, determining sediment compatibility and project management.


Duck town manager Chris Layton oversaw a budget workshop on Wednesday and the approval of his $10,598,070 fiscal year 2021 budget in a brief special council meeting Thursday. Town of Duck screenshot

According to town manager Chris Layton, similar contracts have already been or are awaiting approval by Southern Shores, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills.

Also approved was a $384,011.25 grant agreement with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for a wetlands restoration and sill project.

Duck will add an equal amount to cover the estimated $768,022 project cost for the erosion control project between Resort Realty and Sunset Grille on the Currituck Sound side of NC12.

Community development director Joe Heard explained during discussions that if a delay was needed due to financial shortfalls, an extension could be requested but there are no guarantees that one would be granted.

Construction is expected to begin mid to late fall.



Discussion held on placement of county ambulance in Duck