Perry Township First Responder Plan

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Perry trustees go slow on bid for first responder service

December 13, 2011
Salem News

PERRY TWP. - A proposal made by township firefighters last month to offer a first responder service came up again Monday, with trustees still making no decision.

"We'll look into that and see what the liability consequences are," Trustee Chairman Cliff Mix said.

Trustee Don Kendrick said he thought they should also meet with Dr. Lauren S. Fredrickson, who serves as the medical director for the Salem City Fire Department first responder program and would do the same for the township.

Several firefighters attended the meeting, with a couple of them taking Mix to task for a comment made last month when Mix said he didn't believe Fire Chief Kevin Bryan when he said they didn't want to do transports.

Firefighter Al Hofmann, who previously served as the fire chief, said he was disappointed in the comment Mix made.

"I thought it was a little bit disrespectful," he said.

Fire Capt. Dave Panezott also spoke out, saying Bryan is one of the most standup guys he knows.

"To tell him in public you lie...you're calling us liars," Panezott said.

"He made the statement and I said I just don't believe that," Mix said.

Bryan put the startup cost at $7,267 for supplies for two of the department's trucks. The cost would include two automatic external defibrillator units. The department already has firefighters qualified to do the work, with eight certified with EMT basic training, two with first responder training and one currently in EMT class.

Bryan said the department previously had a first responder program, so he said some of the people in the department had concerns over why there was such a look down on the idea.

Mix said he didn't think they were looking down on it, but with two private ambulance companies in town and all the things they already have, such as the automatic external defibrillator units in the police units, he said he didn't know what the cost was going to be. He knew what they said the initial cost would be, but what about next year? He also questioned about the training and how much it may cost.

Bryan said grants are available yearly that could help and they wouldn't have to replace all the equipment, such as backboards, every year.

Kendrick questioned whether an ambulance would still be called to a scene, with Bryan explaining the first responders would be called at the same time as the ambulance crew to respond. Sometimes the ambulance crew needs help and wouldn't have to wait to call the fire department for assistance if they were responding at the same time. It was also pointed out that the ambulances don't always get there first.

"This would be a way to get aid quicker," he said.

Hofmann defended the idea, telling trustees if the firefighters are willing to do this, they should back them. He said money should not be an issue and he confirmed that the township offered the service before.

"It's going to benefit the township residents - it's just something else we'd like to give back to the community," he said.

As for the police already having the AEDs, he said they could be tied up somewhere and not be available.

David Hardesty, a firefighter EMT for the township who also works for a private ambulance company, said ambulances sometime get called out of town and sometime end up transporting to St. Elizabeth Hospital or Alliance Community Hospital. Each ambulance runs with a two-person crew and there have been times where they had to have a firefighter drive while they tended to the patient.

"That's all it's about - getting aid to the residents of the township quicker," he said.
 
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