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South Summit Fire hires first full-time chief

South Summit Fire Chief Scott Thorell
Scott Thorell
South Summit Fire Chief Scott Thorell

New South Summit Fire Chief Scott Thorell's first task is expanding the district’s emergency medical services.

The South Summit Fire Protection District’s board of commissioners hired new Chief Scott Thorell in December. He’s the volunteer fire department’s first full-time employee but won’t be the last.

South Summit is currently building its EMS capacity after Summit County reorganized EMS countywide to comply with state law.

“I'm tasked with building the service this next year. I'm recruiting locally and trying to find folks that want to come and work for us,” Thorell said on KPCW’s Local News Hour.

Since Jan. 1, South Summit has been responsible for its own EMS. That means running and staffing its own ambulances with EMTs.

Previously, it contracted with Park City Fire District for EMTs, and before that relied on volunteers.

Because it doesn’t have its own EMTs yet, South Summit is contracting with Wasatch County for at least a year.

“Wasatch County has been just an amazing neighbor and gone above and beyond to help us provide that service,” Thorell said. Park City will still provide paramedics, which are more highly trained than your average EMT.

Bringing on more employees has come at a price for South Summit residents, whose taxes doubled.

The fire district’s board unanimously voted to increase taxes by 112% Dec. 13. That’s less than the 183% initially proposed.

With additional revenue on the way, the fire district has taken to purchasing stretchers, monitors and other equipment for its EMS.

The additional money should help pay new EMS recruits, too.

Thorell is posting flyers around the Kamas Valley and may organize a recruitment open house. He’d like to hire from within the community first, if possible.

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