What residents don’t know can (and does) hurt

June 14, 2012  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.


What you don’t know can hurt you.

What people in Plymouth Township don’t know has already hurt some people in the Lake Pointe subdivision, the largest in the township.

What people don’t know is that, despite the disingenuous claims of the township officials, they do not have the level of fire and emergency medical service so many believe still exists. They won’t understand the level of misinformation they’ve believed until they need the emergency services they thought they could count on.

The Plymouth Township Board of Trustees has gutted the fire department and the medical emergency services staff in the township. Township residents now depend on a group of on-call fire fighters, Huron Valley Ambulance and the mutual aid offered by neighboring communities, when available.

These on-call volunteer fire fighters can live as far as 15 miles from the township, so when they are alerted to a fire, if they are not at their regular jobs, they can drive to the fire station, get into a fire vehicle, if there is one operating, and then get to the scene of the fire. Unfortunately, this scenario is taking longer and longer, and if there is a real emergency, is simply too long to wait while a home burns, people are trapped or a stroke or heart attack victim needs immediate help.

The aid offered by neighboring communities, like Northville Township, has averted real tragedy and loss of life so far, but if these firefighters and paramedics are on a call in their own city, they won’t be able to offer the necessary equipment or men to comply with national standards.

The township administration tells anyone who will listen that the response times are as timely as they ever were on these runs. That is disingenuous at best and in many opinions, an out-and-out lie. What the township officials currently call response time is when the first police car, or public safety officer, or the fire chief, arrives at the scene in a patrol car or township vehicle. The “official reports” of response times do not indicate the delay in the arrival of the actual fire fighters, equipment or medical personnel.

If they did, people might understand the peril they are now facing with the lack of a professional, fully staffed, trained and properly equipped fire department.

Plymouth Township no longer offers that service to residents, and those who still labor under the false impression that such a service exists may be faced with serious disillusionment and tragedy when they attempt to call on that service.

The fire department has been reduced to a staff of four at two fire stations to serve 28,000 residents. In addition, there is a lieutenant and a fire chief. The fire station at Lake Pointe is closed. The pumper truck, the only one with a ladder function, is gone, returned to the City of Plymouth as part of the settlement of the now defunct joint service agreement between the township and the city.

Plymouth Township fire fighters have one 20 year-old truck which needs brakes, as they failed on the way to a fire last month and another 1989 model that stopped working at the scene of a fire recently, forcing firefighters to attempt to quell a basement home fire using foam..

The township administration continues to fill the void left by this lack of staffing and equipment with rhetoric, deliberately choosing statistics and carefully culled statistics to prove that the financial situation in the town- ship warranted the dissolution of the department.

They may be right. But their motives are more than suspect since they blatantly denied the residents of their community, the very people who elected them, the right to vote on the issue by hiking the millage amount on the ballot by tenfold to prevent a fair determination of the will of the public.

More than 4,000 residents petitioned these men and women for a vote on the issue, only to have their constitutional rights bastardized and the will of the court-order that forced them to put the question on the ballot thwarted.

Most people in Plymouth Township don’t know, or realize, what has happened to them. They will when their insurance rates sky-rocket as the insurers become aware of the volunteer and limited fire services. They will when they face a medical or fire emergency and a patrol car or a township car arrives rather than the medical aid or fire truck they expected.

What people don’t know in Plymouth Township is going to hurt them and there are no fire fighters left to clear away the heavy smokescreen behind which the current administration hides.

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