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Boardman officials mull EMS options



Published: Tue, September 11, 2012 @ 12:02 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern

aluthern@vindy.com

BOARDMAN

The fire chief told trustees Monday that a township-operated emergency medical service with ambulance transportation would not happen at this time and he would begin researching options with private ambulance providers.

Trustees had tasked Chief George Brown with evaluating different EMS models to decide whether the township wanted to change from its current policy of using several local ambulance services on a rotating basis with firefighters also answering medical calls as first responders.

Brown said the township EMS model would have required changes to the International Association of Firefighters Local 1176 contract.

“We worked at that plan with midterm negotiations, and we were unable to have any movement, so we’re now looking at private service providers,” Brown said.

The union’s president, Harry Wolfe, disagreed with the use of the word “negotiations” and said there was one meeting about the topic between the administration and the union that lasted less than 30 minutes.

“We did not bargain. They gave us a list of demands, and we said we wanted to talk about some other issues, and they left. It’s unfortunate, because if they really wanted to bargain, that’s what they would have done,” Wolfe said.

The administration brought four requests to the union that it deemed necessary to have a township EMS ambulance service: paramedic certifications for current firefighters, paramedic certifications for new hires, use of part-time firefighters and moving firefighters from truck to truck, Brown said.

Wolfe said the union objected only to part-time firefighters. Township firefighters have advocated for the start of a township-run ambulance service for years and released a feasibility study in 2009.

“It truly is a monumental task to quickly have changes in negotiations. We felt this [going with a private provider] would probably be the direction, but we wanted to give firefighters a chance,” said Trustee Chairman Brad Calhoun.

Township Administrator Jason Loree said the township is considering a preferred option in which it would contract with one provider in a long-term commitment to ensure ambulance service for township residents.

“The primary call would go from the dispatcher to the ambulance responder, and if they need more assistance, the paramedics would tell dispatch to contact the fire department. There will be contractual guidelines with any type of agreement about acceptable response times,” Loree said.

The township’s recent contracts with those outside ambulance companies stipulate a response time within nine minutes of the call 90 percent of the time, according to Vindicator files.


Comments

1gunr(41 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

FInally! Some common sense being applied? How many other fire departments are running EMS? Why not?

Isn't it enough that we have million dollar fire trucks running red thru intersections just to give first aid? The First Responders program was a union proposal suggested nationally just to establish a need for minimum manning. Do you really think it's free? It is used to get the number of runs up because fewer and fewer fires are occurring.

Thank you , Trustees!

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2steelhead(123 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Boardman has been screwing around with this EMS issue for years. Run correctly, EMS would be great for the Department and community, but nobody ever wants to compromise. That's both the Trustees and the Union at different times. Private EMS is fine, too, but they doctor their response times by using the time that a "Supervisor" vehicle arrives, which is not an ambulance, and not always a Paramedic.

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3biteme(35 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

So if I get this right, private ambulance drivers will run all of BFDs EMS calls, charge twp residents full price for the call, collect all of the revenue, and the firemen will run less calls while collecting the same pay.
Thank you Trustees for less services at the same cost. Genius, pure genius. Joe Lane is smiling ear to ear

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4steelhead(123 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Why shouldn't Joe Lane be smiling? He's had Canfield in his pocket for years. We pay for training, equipment, manpower, etc. But are not getting the service we deserve. Canfield has excellent Paramedics ready at a moment's notice to come to our house and wait for an ambulance with us. The siren we hear ten minutes after the fire department arrives is Lanes coming from Austintown.

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