‘Totally broken’ EMS system confounds officials

Local officials are less than pleased with the pace of a state-sponsored fire and EMS study.

The study aims to take a deep look into the operations of both fire and EMS coverage in a three county area — Warren, Erie and Crawford.

Paul Pascuzzi told the COG Fire Services Committee that the consultant for the EMS portion provided by the state “has been displaced” but that they “knew that was going to occur.”

Concerns were expressed that might kick movement on the project into 2022.

Pascuzzi said the three counties “may need to drive the bus” and there was discussion about the counties securing their own consultant absent the state.

“Where we get the consultant would be up to the municipalities,” he added. “The counties would have to collaborate in some fashion. I don’t see that as being a problem. It’s a matter of getting those wheels in action.”

The need for that review was reinforced by Public Safety Director Ken McCorrison.

He said data is showing a 20 to 30 percent drop call rate with some agencies going out of service without notifying the 911 Center or finding coverage. He said there’s a “pretty big gap on a map” created by which departments are going out of service.

“So it’s getting worse instead of better,” Pascuzzi said.

“It’s difficult to schedule volunteers to do this but if all three counties have the same basic EMS plan, same administrator that’s going to go around and hold people accountable… then that goes a long way to helping us improve our EMS system.

“The system is totally broken and no one knows how to fix it,” he added. “To fix it is going to require millions of dollars.”

He said if the EMS issue doesn’t become a municipal, county, state or federal priority “we’re going to continue to fail at this.”

Discussion then shifted on the possibility of revising the county’s EMS plan which lays out how agencies go out of service and find coverage, among other things.

Between now and the October meeting members of the committee will work to identify individuals to undertake that process.


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