N.Baltimore to discuss EMS needs
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 11:59
NORTH BALTIMORE - Village officials will meet with EMS members next week to discuss needs in that department, including whether the village should move toward a full-time squad.
Members of village council's public safety committee will meet with EMS Chief John Van Scoder and others on Monday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss suggestions and ideas for the future of the volunteer squad.
The possibility of reviving a proposed Southwood Emergency Medical Service District, designed to serve North Baltimore, Hoytville, and Henry and Jackson townships, has been nixed by council.
The joint EMS service lost ground when voters turned down a levy for it a few years ago, and has held few meeting since.
Council agreed in February to seek a collaborative grant with the Wood County Port Authority through the state's innovation fund. The fund awards communities which find ways to merge or collaborate for services.
A $100,000 grant was received to study the issue, but nothing has been done and the project has stalled, according to village Mayor Mike Julien at Tuesday's committee of the whole meeting.
"We have to move forward somehow," said Councilman Bill Cameron. "We have to keep it front and center."
But Van Scoder expressed concern even if the Southwood idea was reinvigorated.
"I know I'm not impressed with it," he stated.
The squad had 478 calls in 2012, 80 of which were motor vehicle accidents and 162 were cardiac, respiratory or trauma related calls. Of the remainder miscellaneous calls, there were 87 the squad was unable to respond to. That's 18 percent of calls that volunteers didn't show up for a run, and mutual aid was called.
Even if the village does go to a full-time squad, Van Scoder said, some calls will be missed.
A full-time crew during the day would be a good start, he stated. He guessed less than 5 percent of calls wouldn't be answered if the department hired a full-time staff for the day, and continue with volunteers at night.
Councilman Jeff Bretz also suggested increasing the pay for EMS and fire department volunteers.
Also at the meeting, Councilman Aaron Patterson berated officials for not adhering to council's own snow removal policy.
Residents have 24 hours after a snow fall to clear sidewalks. But the walk to the north of the village administration building went uncleared for days.
Village Administrator Kathy Healy said it was Public Works responsibility to clear all village property.
Public Works Chief Doug Wickard said he wasn't aware of that stipulation.
Police and fire, which also share that corner downtown, clear their own walks.
"It's embarrassing that we're violating our own ordinance," Patterson stated. "We have to set an example."
Issues with downtown's "snow median," where snow is plowed to the middle of Main Street, also were discussed.
But Healy pointed out it's council policy that the snow needs to be stacked 3 feet before it's removed. That was approved by council two or three years ago, she said.