If you been in a coma for the last eight months, you can be excused for thinking that Mayor Rick Baker’s report at Monday’s Buckeye Lake Village Council meeting means EMS services are improving. Otherwise you might wonder why discussions on how to fix operational problems didn’t begin until March (Baker’s own statement) – nearly SEVEN months after our first documented report on the department’s critical deficiencies. That means residents and visitors were at risk for nearly SEVEN long months before our arrogant and clueless village officials even started discussing how to fix the problems.
Monday night Baker reeled off a list of 13 items that he claims have been done. Details are very limited. For example, Baker says the EMS response policy was updated. That might be a positive step, but the last update in December was negative. What’s particularly striking is all these so-called ‘changes’ have been done in private and most likely by discredited Fire Captain Dave Ruton. Unfortunately, council members have shown little interest in these problems, leading Baker, Ruton and Safety Chair Clay Carroll to believe they can make all decisions themselves in private.
We emailed a public records request Tuesday night to Baker seeking copies of these ‘new,’ ‘updated,’ and ‘changed’ policies, charts, programs, systems etc. They should be available immediately, but we’ll probably still be waiting for them next week.
The on again, off again public meeting is still on for Thursday, May 23, at the fire station. Council President Charlene Hayden has dashed any expectations that this would be an opportunity for two-way discussions about EMS services. There will be NO public comment, but you might be allowed to turn in a comment sheet. Mayor Rick Baker called it “a facts thing.”
Yep, after nearly EIGHT months of no action, misrepresentations and outright lies, Baker, Hayden and Crew are going to tell us how it is. Show up, shut up and listen to how they are going to save the Buckeye Lake Fire Department no matter how many lives are put at risk or lost. Somehow we are now expected to believe that the same team that ignored these critical staffing and training deficiencies for years – yes, we mean years – is suddenly capable of fixing them. They are going to use duct tape, baling wire and anything else they can find to try to hold this department together until early November in hopes they can scare you into renewing the fire levy. They might even get cocky and ask for some more taxes to ‘improve services.’
Once that levy is renewed or replaced, the pressure is off and what little progress is made will start slipping away. Hayden likes to include ‘pithy’ quotes on her reports. Here’s a quote we like. “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” That will be our fate if we fall for the BS that the crew responsible for this mess will actually fix it.
This dispute really boils down to one basic issue. Baker, Hayden & Crew’s (sounds like a bad law firm) objective is to save the Buckeye Lake Fire Department. They support the structure over the mission. Fire departments were originally formed to protect life and property from fire. Now they are primarily expected to provide emergency medical care and transportation.
The mission is what’s critical, not the structure. The mission must be Patients 1st. The question that should be asked is how do we put Patients 1st; not how do we save the Buckeye Lake Fire Department. The department won’t put Patients 1st until its entire leadership is replaced. That will take months and we can’t continue to risk the lives of residents and visitors with more delays.
Fortunately, there is an option that can put Patients 1st in about 30 days. It costs less than what we’ve been spending on our dysfunctional fire department. We don’t need policy rewrites, purloined programs from the Internet or mass hiring of inexperienced EMT’s. For about $110,000 a year, the Hebron Fire Department will immediately respond (NO WAITING) to all EMS and fire calls in Buckeye Lake with a trained crew ready to treat and transport if needed. No more solo (“first responder”) responses and then long waits for a second cardholder etc.
Hebron has provided Patients 1st Care for many years. We could have it in place by Father’s Day if our village officials were truly committed to caring for residents and visitors. Don’t be fooled by empty promises and meaningless ‘changes.’ Demand Patients 1st Care now!