New fire truck Delivered to Plymouth Township
Jun. 20, 2019 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Plymouth Township firefighters celebrated the arrival of a new $635,000 fire engine last week with a time-honored tradition that goes back 100 years. In what is known as a “Push-In” ceremony, the fire- fighters–joined by Fire Chief Dan Phillips–lined up on the front bumper and pushed the 56,000-pound rig into its new home.
The celebration harkens back to the 18th and 19th century when horses were disconnected and early hand-drawn fire engines, ladder wagons, hose carts and other pieces of equipment had to be pushed back into the station house.
The fire new engine, a 2018 Pierce Enforcer Pumper, was ordered last year after the township received a $400,000 state grant fostered by House Rep. Jeff Noble. The balance of the cost for the fire engine was supplemented by a $400,00 option arrangement negotiated by Township Supervisor Kurt Heise and approved by the members of the board of trustees. The option, offered by Verizon Wireless, was for the company to purchase a communications easement for the cell tower located on township property at the DPW yard. The funds were then used toward the purchase of a new rescue squad ambulance.
During the past two years there has been a concerted effort to re-build the fire department apparatus and equipment. Heise said that “for the most part” board members have gone along with his recommendations and those of the fire chief, albeit occasionally not without heated challenges.
Recently, board members have stalled executive recommendations to capture $600,000 in revenue now going to private ambulance company HVA for patient transport–funds that could go back to the fire department. According to township records, HVA-Huron Valley Ambulance Co. has conducted business inside the township without a contractual agreement or performance obligation, maintaining restricted control over patient care since 1991, keeping all of the revenue. Board members have vacillated on the transport issue for almost a year after conducting a formal bid inquiry with HVA and competitors. Officials say they have documented the response reliability of HVA under the current informal arrangement and it is at best, “fragmented, inconsistent and often times slow,” and as some board members agree, not at all cost effective, and not in the best interest of the patients.
Informed sources say township police and fire administrators are now meeting with HVA to fix communication problems and possibly address the issues involved with transferring patients to HVA, after they are stabilized. HVA dispatchers are trained in EMD- Emergency Medical Dispatch. Trained certified “Telecommunicators’ as they are called use EMD guidelines and can quickly determine the nature and priority of the 9- 1-1 call, dispatch the appropriate ambulance, then give the caller instructions to help treat the patient until the responding EMS unit arrives. Under the grandfathered current system, the township emergency response dispatch service provides all 9-1-1 medical calls to HVA, in addition to the township Fire Department, in order that HVA be allowed to respond, if they so desire and are able.
Fire Department patient transport has since become an issue greeted with derision and genuine concern by residents who have taken sides based on limited accurate information and social media flap.
Township Police Chief Tom Tiderington says if the township board authorizes the fire department to trans- port patients, he would be required to send his dispatchers for EMD training at estimated cost of $90,000.
There is no date set for the board members to review the patient transport recommendations.
Photo: © Don Howard / Associated Newspapers