Kudos to the Columbus Division of Fire for taking steps to address their EMS service challenges. Given the many factors at play, this is probably the best approach they could have selected. However, by no means should this be the last step. As I detailed in a recent post, CFD remains woefully behind schedule in the construction of new Fire Stations. So much so, that their over reliance on automatic aid partners will only grow unless dramatic steps are taken in the immediately future. This has the potential to move the problem of overworked paramedics from the City (who collects the tax dollars) to the Townships and Surrounding Cities (but who do not collect taxes to provide these services).
To remedy this situation several steps should be explored in the near future:
1) Building temporary, medic only, fire stations in outlying areas, or quartering CFD medic units in the closest township/suburban fire stations to service areas that CFD is unable to effectively handle at this time.
2) Deployment models should be adjusted to not simply assign a mutual aid medic to City runs in every case. A more dynamic and resilient deployment model, which accommodates nearest transport units for high priority medical cases but utilizes CFD medics for BLS runs, should be deployed.
3) Peak Time Medic Units should be placed in areas not just based on the volume of calls in the area, but based on overall response times and number of incidents handled by mutual aid, with the reality being that the best areas to cover with extra resources may shift over a 24 hour period. For example, Polaris may need an additional medic unit during the day time hours, but not at night, when that unit could be better utilized in the West Side or Fairwood Avenue Area.
4) The program of utilizing ladders for Extrication Runs should be continued and expanded.
5) The Heavy Rescue Units should, for now, be maintained, and should be the first piece selected to assist Medic Units when they are nearby, instead of Engine Companies. This preserves the Engines for Fires and additional EMS runs.
6) CFD should work with the City Administration to develop a comprehensive CFD 2025 plan-- focusing on the goals of response time, reduced reliance on mutual aid, and other performance benchmarks that will guide a major bond issue intended to "catch up" CFD to where it needs to be.
The first steps have been taken. The current CFD administration is demonstrating its understanding that the Status Quo must change. That should be applauded, but the work must continue.
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Welcome to my site and thank you for reading. After many times thinking, if only I had a blog, well-- here we are. This blog will feature writings on a variety of topics from roadside food, to leadership in the fire service; politics; culture- gay, straight, and indifferent, my experiences in Ohio, New York and beyond; and much much more. It's my hope that you will find it interesting and that it stirs at least some thought and discussion. I am certain you wont always agree, but that is what its all about right? Oh and one more thing: The views expressed on this site are entirely my own. They do not reflect in anyway the views or positions of my employer.