To the Editor:
If we pass these levys, residents will pay almost half a million dollars a year to maintain fire/EMS coverage. JFD has a free building now they deemed “not ideal” to modify. JFD purchased 5.5 acres for $70,000 in October 2018 being very confident. Just passing the building, we build a $3 million firehouse and pay for it over 28 years.
JFD promises 24-hour EMS response. True, unless the paid EMT’s respond to a fire call, then not available for EMS call. The paid EMTs are on a EMS call, (why do we have two ambulances when we only have crew for one?), so mutual aid will still be called on both. Response times not quicker. If paid EMTs live in town, still responding from home, and if paid EMTs are both basic, a needed paramedic will be called from home or mutual aid. Being quick doesn’t really matter if it’s not the appropriate level of response needed.
Thoughts to consider. Residents will be paying two people with 75 percent of their time not on active calls. No plan to implement wellness checks, community health checks, or education to public during “down’ time.” Operating levy is still permanent. Active volunteers are diminishing in our fire roster, as well throughout the US. Chief reported 25 volunteer firefighters, but paid on duty cross trained EMTs had to assist to get fire trucks out for runs. Almost half volunteers are over 40, with no yearly physical fitness requirements. Fire purchased over 10 years ago a truck that barely fit in the door, and since they haven’t modified the door, it’s now a problem? Fire’s almost always need mutual aid assistance. Hopefully departments correlate with one another to get equipment, so we are trying to work with, not out do the other guys.
It would be nice if JFD was more transparent: No minutes with discussion or financial reports available to public. How do you get on JFD? When are elections? They have no rules/SOG’s (standard operating procedure guidelines), that are up-to-date, and regularly reviewed for EMS and fire? Who is currently being paid, and proposed wage changes?
Possibilities to consider. Pay EMS $75 per run, paid out of EMS insurance reimbursement money already received. We will not be paying for down time. Several EMT’s/paramedics live in area, curious why they don’t run? We have been completely satisfied with volunteers from home since the department’s beginning. If the volunteer time as truly come to an end, we need to be given the cost of dividing EMS only service between surrounding areas already staffed. They will get the initial tone drop, response time would be similar to volunteer/home responders, in some cases quicker, and I can’t imagine it’ll cost a half million dollars.
— Brenda Carroll, RN