2013-06-01 / Editorials & Letters

Hebron gets to the scene first


Fire! People trapped inside! Could this be your house? This time it was 300 Worth Drive in Buckeye Lake……just one-half mile from Buckeye Lake Fire Department!

It was 2:51 a.m. on May 23 when Licking County 911 received a report of a fire at 300 Worth Drive with people trapped inside. Two people were on station that night – Laura Spencer (paid part-time paramedic/ FF) on the clock/ scheduled and Mike Harris (paid part-time paramedic/FF) volunteering, not on the clock/ schedule.

Buckeye Lake was dispatched at 2:52 a.m. and arrived on scene in nine minutes, 34 seconds. But NOT BEFORE Hebron, who was also dispatched at 2:52 a.m, arrived on scene FROM TWO MILES AWAY in eight minutes, fifty-seven seconds. So, even with two people on duty at the Buckeye Lake station and the fire scene only 1/2 mile away, Hebron was still FIRST ON SCENE.

It took Buckeye Lake twice as long to get out the door: five minutes, eight seconds vrs. Hebron’s two minutes, 24 seconds.

Captain David Ruton, arrived on scene but failed to follow the new procedures HE created: “All EMS certified volunteers shall mark responding with their portable radios so that the responding unit knows they are enroute and available to assist.”

Village officials claim that Buckeye Lake has 31 members: 18 EMT/firefighters, three advanced EMT/firefighters and eight paramedic/firefighters. The also have a firefighter (only) and one junior volunteer. I assume they are counting all members as “volunteers” even though 16 including the chief and assistant chief were paid during the 5/11-24 pay period.

Mayor Rick Baker, Council President Charlene Hayden & Safety Chair Clay Carroll have been bragging about new procedures and improvements at BLFD while warning us about response delays if we contract with Hebron.

Some say, “The proof is in the pudding!” In this case, the proof is in performance! It matters not how much paperwork you shuffle around or new gear you buy. Rather: 1) Do you have sufficient trained personnel? 2) Can you get out the door? 3) Can you provide quality service at the scene when you arrive?

Hebron Fire Chief Randy Weekly was quoted by a nearby newspaper, “When you hear people trapped, you kick it in gear” referring to information coming from a police officer on scene at this “working fire.”

Baker, Hayden and Carroll need to explain why Hebron was FIRST on the scene and just WHERE were the other 28 personnel that they claim are dedicated to BLFD?

On behalf of Buckeye Lake, thank you Hebron, Licking Township, Millersport and Heath. Also, thanks to Thurston for responding before you were called off. We appreciate your support!

Peggy Wells
Buckeye Lake

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