Finance and Fire...let's go there

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Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Timeout on Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:19 pm

First, if you haven't read today's Sun Journal about last night's selectmen's meeting, read that:
http://www.sunjournal.com/story/296401-3/RiverValley/FD_issues_reach_boiling_point/

I personally hold Mr. Greaney, Mr. Belanger and Mr. Therriault responsible for the amount of grief and bs they put the fire department through.

The kindest thing I can say is that they are not accountants.

I really shouldn't say the worst of what I think.

Instead I give you two questions to consider:
1 - Do you think they know what they're doing?
2 - How much do you think this is going to cost the town?

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by T on Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:26 pm

It is my opinion that they are incompetent ideologues.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by T on Fri Dec 19, 2008 12:31 pm

...or liars.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Z on Fri Dec 19, 2008 2:48 pm

As someone pointed out in the SJ comments, Mark Belanger has already proven himself to be a liar.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by dr on Fri Dec 19, 2008 3:13 pm

Z wrote:As someone pointed out in the SJ comments, Mark Belanger has already proven himself to be a liar.

......as has JSN.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by T on Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:03 pm

1 - Do you think they know what they're doing?
YES


2 - How much do you think this is going to cost the town?
YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Timeout on Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:12 pm

So you think the bs is intentional...

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by KevinNSaisi on Fri Dec 19, 2008 4:23 pm

The actual cost of responding to an EMS call (when you take all expenses and divide by the number of calls) is $70. They went on about 200 calls last year. You do the math.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by T on Fri Dec 19, 2008 5:38 pm

Timeout wrote:So you think the bs is intentional...
Absolutely

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Timeout on Sat Dec 20, 2008 11:50 am

Why would they do such a thing? I mean, I can make a lot of guesses but none of them really make sense if I think them through to the end...and you know I have to do that...lol.

Wentzell was put in the position by Boivin, Belanger DiConzo, supported by Len. Why would they want to shut him up now?

If anything, I think Wentzell would have tried to support those who appointed him. I suppose they tried to buy that by nominating him for Fire Chief of the Year. Not that he didn't deserve the honor but...c'mon...something about the timing of all that was ridiculous, as I said to Len. I could only wonder if they are either clueless or devious...I can't find the grey area in this one and it makes my head hurt.

Who the heck is going to work with Rumford on at least looking at regionalization if we can't even get our numbers and our story straight? (Rhetorical question, because the answer is no one.)


Last edited by Timeout on Wed Dec 24, 2008 5:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:11 pm

I actually attended this meeting. Mark was the primary proponent of the issue. Frank spoke about the EMS, but I don't recall him defending the $90K issue. Arthur didn't say much. Len did speak, but the two who were decidedly behind the $90k issue were Mark and Ron.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Timeout on Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:24 pm

Come on! Frank is the one who initially motioned to eliminate the First Responder Program last October, 2007.

The best you can say is that he might be learning to be quiet when he realizes what a mess this has become?

I love this tactic and I've seen it over and over...I didn't do it...he did...not me! He started it...lol...whatever.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:31 pm

Timeout, I was not reflecting opinions. I was reflecting what actually happened at the meeting. I didn't see you there, so I would expect that whatever information you have would be second hand (at best). The cameras weren't there, so the only other records we have of the meeting is the voice recording and the minutes (as interpreted by the person who transcribes them).

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Timeout on Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:49 pm

My mistake Kevin, I thought you were trying to answer my questions and to talk about the thread.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Timeout on Sat Dec 20, 2008 1:05 pm

I had a bit of e-mail correspondence this past week with the selectmen and Len regarding the First Responder program and how that affects us here in Rumford Point. I am not satisfied with any of the response from either Len or Frank. Frank simply blames the fire department and Len gives me some $75,000 costs number. What's the truth? I'd like to know because they have cut service to Rumford Point based on what looks like error and other b.s. Yup, I'm not happy.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by KevinNSaisi on Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:39 pm

KevinNSaisi wrote:The actual cost of responding to an EMS call (when you take all expenses and divide by the number of calls) is $70. They went on about 200 calls last year. You do the math.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Timeout on Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:00 pm

The First Responder Program was taken away from Rumford by people who misled the town on the numbers. Let's correct this and reinstate a program that definitely works for the outlying areas of Rumford.

Let's face it, responsible Rumford citizens don't mind tightening their belts. We want to make those decisions based on honest information, not fiction.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by gadget6412 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:20 pm

Kevin, I do not agree that a call only would only cost $70.00 to respond to. There are a lot of expenses that come into effect each time the fire engine rolls out the door to include wear and tear, maintenance, clean up and item replacement.

Wages should remain the same whether a fire fighter is sitting on his butt in the fire house, training or flagging traffic around a fender bender or do they change if they respond. What is the cost of the fire department minus the base wages, minus the firehouse expenses, minus training requirements, office supplies and other miscellaneous items?

I would think the question should be: Does the situation warrant a fire engine and crew rolling with every ambulance call? It comes to the same conclusion when we see three or more police cars behind one vehicle for a traffic stop or minor infraction. Why?

As you sit in on these meetings and privileged to a lot more information than I will ever be, I ask the question of you, Does every ambulance call warrant a fire engine and crew to go to?

I am not saying that they should never respond but should there be a system in place to determine the level of response?


Last edited by gadget6412 on Mon Dec 29, 2008 1:29 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Left something out)

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by KevinNSaisi on Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:20 pm

Gadget,
The $70.00 amount was from Gary Wentzell who did the math based upon common sense accounting. He may not have accounted for the cost of each drop of water used to wash the trucks, as others have, but it was quite comprehensive.

Being an EMT, I can say that not only do all calls not require first response, but many don't even require an ambulance. The intent of an ambulance service is to provide care for those who are too sick or injured to be capable of obtaining medical care on their own. If a person cuts their finger, most times it is not life threatening. They could easily take a car ride to the hospital. However, if they cut off their finger, then it becomes more serious and requires immediate medical attention. There are hundereds of unnecessary ambulance calls every day in this state (but I digress).

A first responder program is designed to provide care before the ambulance arrives. In Andover, this system works well because the ambulance is typically 20 minutes away. In Rumford, the response time is much less, which diminishes the perception of the benefit. If the first responders arrive within seconds before the ambulance, or after it, the role of first response is no longer applicable. There are a number of situations in which a first responder program is essential. When breathing and/or circulation of blood are involved, it can be critical to have someone there ASAP. One of the other benefits of a first responder program that the first responders can do an assessment of the patient, potentially finding a symptom that changes the urgency of care. I have arrived on scenes where we were called in to assist a patient who had fallen, but ended up going to the hospital (lights and siren) because of severe dehydration or other medical condition.

Ambulance calls are coded based upon questions asked by the dispatch center. An Alpha call is less serious than a Delta call. However, the dispatcher may not have spoken with the patient directly, or may not have been given complete information, causing a mis-coding of the call. The interrogation you undergo when you call in is essential to provide the responding unit with proper information. Of course, when I call something in, I just give my assessment and say "emt on scene" and they know that I have looked at everything and will advise them if there are any changes ( but I digress (again)).

Rumford Fire's first repsonder program has been scaled back from the original program. The number of calls to which they responded had dropped significantly over the life of the program. This was achieved using protocols in dispatch that dictate which calls required first response. The last six months of the program, they only responded to about 70 calls as opposed to over 250+ in the initial year.

In addition to the response from the station, often firefighters in outlying areas would respond from home to calls in their neighborhood. I believe that there would be a liability issue if they were to do so without being a part of a licensed service.

I am not saying that the first responder program was perfect, nor do I believe it was without cost. But I do believe that the exageration of the budget savings by certain people was merely a means to an end, and not based upon hard facts. I am not saying that the fire department budget is without improvement potential, but I trust that Gary Wentzell has the ability to work through the budget and make it as efficient and streamlined as possible.

In the next few years we will be losing millions of dollars in valuation in the mill. Had our tiown been run properly, we may have been prepared to absorb this without increasing taxes. However, some people had big egos and personal agendas to take what they could from the town. Now, we are between a rock and a hard place because we have neither a plan nor the resources to implement such a plan without asking more from the taxpayers. Even if the mill continues to operate, we will be looking at a significant increase in taxes if things don't change. Our current government has neither the courage nor the vision to move us forward. They are afraid to move for fear of being criticized. I thank Mr. Greaney for his service in helping to bring our community to a greater sense of peace after a turbulent period, but we will need someone with different skills in that position in the next few years. While the Wentzell experiment went fairly well, I don't see the same result if we attempted to share a town manager. We need someone who knows the area and has the right skills. What we really need is a person with Mr. Greaney's tact, Mr. Doar's energy, and Mr. Eldridge's education and experience , and a proven track record of successfully re-building an economy and a community (but, again, I digress)

I hope I have been able to provide some perspective through my thoughts and viewpoints.


Last edited by KevinNSaisi on Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:09 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Timeout on Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:22 pm

Great post Kevin - we agree! What's the date?

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by marktripp on Mon Dec 29, 2008 3:46 pm

Gadget6412,

I would like to take this opportunity and explain about the EMS program. “Does the situation warrant a fire engine and crew rolling with every ambulance call?”

The answer to your question is no, and that was not happening. There is a system in place through dispatch that “prioritized” calls it is called EMD codes. (Emergency Medical Dispatch) They are grouped on severity; Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo and Omega they increase in severity as they go up the alphabet, with the exception of Omega those are generally public assist calls.(lift assist, Expected deaths) The Protocol that was in place for the Fire Department was to respond on Charlie, Delta, any call requested, and Bravo calls where the Officers discretion. The key factor in this system is human error or learning how to play the system, so you end up going on calls you where not needed on and end up not going on some you where. I hope this clarifies some of the first question you had. Now for question 2 about the Engine and Crew. The Rumford Fire Department’s primary responsibility is fire protection for the Town of Rumford, so if you have two Firefighters out to a EMS call and a fire call comes in they can respond to that call without having to go back to the station for a fire truck. This situation has happened many times and worked like it was meant to be. I hope this gives you some info you where looking for, if there are any more questions feel free to ask on here, stop by the station, or e-mail me at mtripp@rumfordfire.org

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by 911Dispatcher on Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:22 pm

Anyone interested in learning more about EMD can go to this link:

http://www.emergencydispatch.org/

http://www.911dispatch.com/info/emd/emd-prs.html

All dispatch centers in Maine are now required to hold a certificate. I was fortunate enough to be trained by Fred Hurtado one of the main men who helped create this system. It is reevaluated every year to ensure a proper response. Mark is correct though the system is only as good as its user. To keep your certificate dispatchers are required to do continuing education courses which helps but does not make it fool proof. There is also and EFD (fire) and a EPD (police) system, but I'm not sure if Maine uses these two or not.


Last edited by 911Dispatcher on Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:12 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by 911Dispatcher on Mon Dec 29, 2008 4:57 pm

Here's an example of what I do every day:

You have a 63 year old male complaining of severe chest pain. The wife calls 911. He had a previous heart attack two years ago and is on medication for it. This is how the call should go.....

Dispatcher: 911 whats the address of the emergency?
Caller: 2600 Highland Drive...I'm at home
Dispatcher: Whats the phone number you're calling from?
Caller: 255-5757
Dispatcher: Okay tell me exactly what happened?
Caller: Come quick! I think my husband is having a heart attack, just like last time! He has a horrible pain in the chest, and his medicine isn't working.
Dispatcher: Are you with the patient now?
Caller: Yes
Dispatcher: How old is he?
Caller: 63
Dispatcher: Is he conscious?
Caller: Yes
Dispatcher: Is he breathing?
Caller: Yes
Dispatcher: Is he completely awake?
Caller: Yes
Dispatcher: Is he breathing normally?
Caller: No hes in a lot of pain
Dispatcher: Is he changing color?
Caller: Hes a little grey
Dispatcher: Is he clammy (cold sweats)?
Caller: No
Dispatcher: Does he have a history of heart problems?
Caller: He had a heart attack two years ago
Dispatcher: Did he take any drugs or medications in the past 12 hours?
Caller: Hes been taking those little pills, but they don't seem to help. should he take some more?

At this point the dispatcher would say to the caller

I'm sending the paramedics to help you now. Stay on the line and I'll tell you exactly what to do next. The Dispatcher would then page medics with a code of 10-D-1, which under Marks explanation would require the RFD and Medcare to respond. The dispatcher would then continue to stay on the line with the caller and ask status questions and give pre-arrival instructions (CPR) if necessary until the medics arrived. These questions come from either a computer system or a card system that is infront of them at work. The links above go into more explanation about each card and its purpose.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by KevinNSaisi on Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:08 pm

One of my favorite calls:
Dispatch: Oxford RCC to (ambulance service), need a unit to respond to (address) for a (age) year old (gender) who has stubbed (gender reference) toe.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

Post by Timeout on Mon Dec 29, 2008 5:10 pm

Here's an excellent LTE on the matter written by Gregg Buccina which appeared in last week's Rumford Falls Times. Congrats to him on a well thought out piece of writing. Take the time to read it - he covers a lot of financial aspects people generally don't consider:


Too Many Chiefs??
Once again one of our town’s public service capabilities has been dealt another setback due to the shortsightedness of our illustrious Board of Selectmen and town manager. To take away the ability of the fire department to respond and administer life saving services to citizens and visitors to this area whose lives may very well depend on it, is detrimental to the greater Rumford population now and in the future. When moves like this are made it continues to show that this board

(1) does not respect the majority of voters who approved department budget amounts at the voting polls,

(2) does not trust or respect the department head, who is charged with ensuring that the department adheres to the budget limits and his/her ability to oversee that department,

(3) is not looking at potential future economic advantages by having and continuing this type of service, and

(4) does not take into consideration the advantages that local taxpayers may receive via lower insurance premiums the town pays for insurance as well as what citizens pay for personal insurance premiums due to a better town service provided.

The type of leadership this and other actions displayed by this board is one of the selectmen’s need or desire to micromanage all aspects of town government. The majority of the current group is not looking out for what is in the best interest of the greater good of this community and its future, but instead how they can continually tighten the noose around what was recently recognized as one of the better fire and public service organizations in our state.

These moves are not professional; instead they are in most instances made to show control disguised by being fiscally responsible. If you think that this and other actions are going to save taxpayers large sums of cash, you are wrong. Instead this move in particular will not be a blip on the radar of the final budget numbers for next fiscal year, and although they will not tell you, see what insurance companies will likewise assess the town and then ask yourself if it was worth it.

In other words, if you save several thousand dollars by eliminating a service that can save lives, what impact will eliminating that service save each taxpaying individual in this community, and also how much could the town pay extra for not providing this service to its citizens. I speculate a financial wash. However tell that to the people who may have benefited from this service if the first responder service were still in place.

Over the last few years there have been many moves made that have not made our town look very well as many of you know. There are a certain few who have continuously made headlines, due to at the very least, questionable decisions and actions. This is another poor decision.

In a book called ‘Smart Growth’ for towns, in which many towns across the state use as a guide to deciding current and future decisions concerning their towns, it is suggested to if at all possible, maintain the services you have in place. When companies big and small look to build or locate their business, and when individuals look to move families to an area, one of the first areas considered is services provided. This was one that should not have been cut.

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Re: Finance and Fire...let's go there

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