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Our opinion: A delicate balance with EMS

Warren City Councilman John Wortman doesn’t think Warren EMTs should be stationed in Pleasant Township — an argument that is shortsighted for several reasons.

First, without the agreement with Pleasant, Warren EMTs were sending their ambulance to Warren Manor on a regular basis, according to Fire Chief Rodney Wren, often times not getting paid anything for those calls.

Second, and more interestingly, for all his concerns about stationing Warren city resources outside the city limits, Wortman hasn’t once said that the city Fire Department couldn’t answer a call inside the city because it is stationing people in Pleasant.

Third, there are times there isn’t enough work for Warren firefighters to do, according to Nancy Freenock, city manager. That isn’t to insinuate that firefighters aren’t working hard or aren’t earning their money. Rather, it’s a realization that you can only polish trucks or train so many times when there aren’t calls coming in.

Fourth, the Warren employees are using Pleasant’s equipment to respond to calls outside the city, lessening the wear and tear on Warren’s equipment and lengthening the useful life of investments Warren taxpayers have made in heavy and costly equipment.

Fifth, it makes no sense for the city to turn away a situation in which it makes money to respond to EMS calls through the agreement with Pleasant in favor of responding to those same calls but receiving only a fraction of the money. That’s particularly true as city officials discuss a COVID-19 budget that will be difficult to balance without a hefty tax increase.

This entire discussion is just more proof that county and state leadership is needed in coming up with a plan and funding to provide emergency response to residents throughout the county. Decisions effecting emergency services must be made rationally, and the amount of “us versus them” rhetoric being spewed by both city and township officials isn’t indicative of cool, rational decision makers.

Wortman is right about one thing — the city is dealing from a position of strength when it comes to the EMS talks. The question is will Warren use its strong position to help its neighbors or burn bridges with its neighbors?

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