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March 6, 2013

Constantine fire chief proposes addition of ‘Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Only’ division to fire department

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Written by: Bruce Snook
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Constantine Fire Chief Mike Haydon has urged the Constantine Village Council to review a proposal to add an “Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Only” division to the fire department.  In doing so during the council meeting Monday evening (March 4), Haydon indicated he wished to see more EMS personnel available.

When asked why not train personnel as both a firefighter and medical first responder (MFR), Haydon said some people like to work in the EMS field but have no interest in fire fighting. Secondly, it is cheaper to outfit and train them as EMS only.

Haydon said EMS only personnel would respond to EMS calls only and not fight fires. He said he was not sure how many personnel would be added, but it would probably not be more than five. No gear would be purchased for people until they were state certified, he said.

“The approximate cost would be $1,200 to outfit an EMS only person. Training would cost $500, and a dress uniform would be $200.”

“In contrast, to outfit a firefighter the gear costs approximately $6,000-$7,000 and fire training costs $8,000-$9,000,” he said.

Haydon added that he had approached both Constantine and Florence townships and they were in favor of the programs.

Village President Pat Weiss and several other council members liked the idea. “The chief has done a good job with his department and we should support this decision,” Weiss said.

Village Manager Mark Honeysett said, “I’m concerned we have an aging community. I think we have need of this, and it is an inexpensive insurance policy.”

Haydon said he was not looking for a motion at this time.

In other business, the council passed Resolution No. 13-16 to seek a grant from the 2013 Recreation Passport Grant Program to reconstruct the pergola at Five Point Park (Pioneer Park.) Voting ‘no’ were trustees Dick Larrance and MacKenzie Strawser.  Honeysett stated that he, Weiss, and DDA director Diana Lammott had been urged to reapply for a grant to rebuild the pergola at a recent Parks and Recreation Association meeting in Lansing.  “We want to reconstruct the pergola, have walkways, with bricks with the names of pioneers buried there. It will be landscaped, with lighting for security purposes,” Lammott said. “The matching funds are all being donated, so there will be no cost to the village.”  Lammott said the project is part of a five-year Parks and Recreation plan.

Dr. Charles and Joelen Zimont submitted a letter proposing to purchase eight feet of land adjacent to the west edge of their property at 280 East Water Street.  The Zimonts stated they wished to plant trees and shrubs in the area. President Weiss appointed a committee of Dick Larrance, MacKenzie Strawser and Catherine Piper to investigate where the “new” property line would fall and report back at the next council meeting.

A public hearing is required for the village to either purchase or sell property.

Source:  Story contributed by Angie Birdsall.

One Comment

  1. What I like vs what I can afford are sometimes two completely different things

    First–what will an EMS person be able to do (when trained) compared to a medical first responder.

    Secondly, as I recall we mothballed much of our ambulance service — part of the reasons being that the state raised its standards for training and was not something the dept at the time could or would support (shortly after we popped for an ambulance). We maintained a good MFR service but this put us on a rather path for ambulance service that led to higher fees, subsidies etc through collaboration with other communities through SAAC? Does this eventually create a path out of SAAC to have our own service where we control our destiny with response times with our own service as we did with the two townships before we had to exit out of the ambulance business?

    Thirdly, would such an EMS service compete with service provided now by Lifecare thru our arrangement with SAAC? If so, alot of state funds we receive nowadays are contingent on certain collaboration metrics the state is forcing communities to do to share resources and services. Would this affect us in receiving such funds?

    “The approximate cost would be $1,200 to outfit an EMS only person. Training would cost $500, and a dress uniform would be $200.” OK, so $1900 per person x 5 people max =$9500.

    OK, so what is the life expectancy of such equipment (which is $$7,000 of that price tag)? How often is that recurring $7,000 to be revisited for replacement costs.

    How much will the ongoing training budget be to 1) maintain any of the current state’s requirements to operate such a service 2) How often does the state continue to change the rules–thus requiring more training to keep up with the moving target.

    And will we then have to anticipate the need for any type of transport vehccle (like an ambulance) as part of the budget picture with this initiative?

    And what is the real cost advantage-are we using the right benchmark by comparing costs of an EMS person vs a Firefighter? What is the cost comparison to train and EMS person vs what we have now with an MFR–that to me would seem a more appropriate discussion for the cost difference vs what each could provide in the way of service.

    I’m not necessarily against this, I just would like to make sure we understand ALL of the hidden costs and recurring costs that we may not be considering and what we are getting BEFORE we start to spend money on a path and then find out the rest of the story with the rest of the costs. Because, we have been bitten before with some flip flopping in direction from past dept heads after we spent money on a direction, and last time I checked–we are under some pretty challenging budget times.

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