Township gets new EMS service | News, Sports, Jobs – The Steubenville Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE — With Pleasant Hills Fire Department pulling the plug on emergency medical service coverage, Island Creek township trustees have turned to TEMS Joint Ambulance District, Richmond Volunteer Fire Department and Wintersville Volunteer Fire Department to fill the void for the balance of 2021.

Trustees said they were notified in July that Pleasant Hill VFD would not be able to fulfill its contractual obligation to provide EMS services to residents. At their regularly scheduled board meeting, trustees voted to redistribute just over $14,490 in EMS levy funds originally dedicated to Pleasant Hills to TEMS for the remainder of 2021.

“This is kind of a short-term fix,” said Russell Grimm, chairman of the township board of trustees. “We were in a bind. People are paying tax money for a service they weren’t getting. We’re trying to fix it as best we can.” Grimm said Pleasant Hills had staffing issues.

“They can’t hire any volunteer help, that’s the whole situation,” Grimm said. “…The bottom line is Pleasant Hills Fire Department can’t run ambulance service anymore because it has no EMTs, that’s it.”

Grimm said the modification only impacts coverage of emergency medical services: Fire suppression and rescue calls will continue to be handled through contracts with Pleasant Hill VFD, Pottery Addition VFD, Richmond VFD and Wintersville VFD.

Clark Crago, TEMS director, said the Toronto-based regional ambulance service agreed about a year and a half ago to take calls from Island Creek Township and has received a portion of the levy funds supporting the township’s emergency services.

“TEMS has built a good rapport with the Pottery Addition and Pleasant Hill areas,” Crago said, though adding the township trustees are still researching various options in providing future services to their residents.

“The trustees are a good group looking out for their residents. We’re all working to find the best solution for them,” he said.

Crago said in the event the township would join the TEMS District, it would be represented on the district’s board.

But he added financial issues would need to be worked out to ensure TEMS has adequate staff to serve the additional area, which includes hundreds of residents.

The TEMS District currently serves Toronto, Stratton and Knox Township.

Grimm, meanwhile, said township trustees are “in the process of evaluating the immediate and long-term options available for providing effective and efficient emergency medical services to the township’s residents,” beginning with the appointment of David B. Fulmer as their fire prevention officer.

Fulmer, a retired fire chief with 30-plus years of service, also has been a fire/EMS educator, having taught and consulted emergency service organizations across the country. He was authorized to conduct performance audits of each agency providing fire and EMS services to the township, evaluating the ability of each “to provide the contracted services (and make) recommendations to trustees to evaluate in making future decisions regarding the delivery of fire suppression, emergency medical and rescue services.”

Grimm said he began his service with the Pleasant Hills department.

“We appointed a volunteer with more understanding than we have,” he said. “…We want to make sure people throughout the township are served, that’s all we’re trying to do to the best of our ability. Now we’ll have somebody watching over (everything).”

For now, he said trustees are “greatly appreciative” of the assistance they enjoy from the township’s mutual aid partners.

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