By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
COLUMBIANA -- Involving EMTs and paramedics in the community and moving toward a full-time EMS service are the main goals of the city's new EMS chief.
Tom Farley, 27, of Fairfield Township, has been a part-time Columbiana EMS paramedic since January 1998 and has worked full time for Pellin EMS and Rural Metro, private ambulance companies in Youngstown.
He replaces Tom Baughman, who resigned to accept a job as a medical supply salesman, but remains with the city EMS as a part-time paramedic.
Farley has a staff of 11 part-time paramedics and EMTs, and several new ideas he would like to implement.
He plans to work toward making the EMS service full time, and establishing a joint fire and EMS district with surrounding communities. He said Baughman laid the foundation for both options.
Community involvement: Farley wants the department's paramedics and EMTs to be visible in the community, offering blood glucose and blood pressure screenings, and CPR classes.
"We want the people in the community to see us and we want to educate them about what we do," Farley said.
Sometimes people also complain about response time, because when a loved one is in trouble, a few minutes seem like forever, he said.
"When we're called, we get there as quickly as we can," he said. "Even if you're right there it takes three to four minutes to respond.
"Sometimes we get calls when we're already busy and we have to send someone else," he said. "People don't understand that. It's the same as a fire department having mutual aid. It's the nature of public service."
Farley said he enjoys working in the EMS field because it's different every day.
"You have to be patient and compassionate in this job," he said. "Things like the weather, even, believe it or not, a full moon has an effect on people. People are very different in an emergency. Even with people you know well, you don't know how they will react."
Background: He said he applied for the chief's position because it's an opportunity to use the knowledge and skills he's attained in his college and military training and his field experience as a paramedic.
"Working in Youngstown, you get good experience," he said. "You get to see all the different aspects of a community."
He holds a bachelor's degree in applied sciences from Youngstown State University and received his EMS training in the Army Reserve and Ohio Army National Guard. He remains an active member of the Guard.
Farley resides in Fairfield Township and plans to move into the city in a few months.