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The Cole County Commission on Tuesday approved an agreement with the Cole County First Responders to continue providing emergency medical services in the county.

After the voter-approved county ambulance half-cent sales tax went into effect in 2009, $50,000 was set aside to assist with first responder training and equipment.

That funding is split evenly between the Cole County First Responders and the Jefferson City Fire Department.

Before the sales tax, first responders operated on a much lower budget, as funds were gained through fundraisers, and equipment was purchased by the responders themselves.

The $25,000 the Cole County First Responders receive is the group's entire operating budget, used to pay for insurance, workers compensation, liability, communication equipment, medical supplies, and equipment such as bags and AEDs.

Cole County First Responders is a volunteer organization that assists those in need of medical assistance in rural areas of the county.

The group is made up of 30-40 volunteers whose training ranges from medical first responder, emergency medical technician and paramedic.

Those interested in joining the Cole County First Responders should send an email to [email protected].

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