|Tobia: Response to the
Anne Arundel County Fire Department's media attacks....
At long last, Sir, have you no shame?
It is not enough that you failed to check the accuracy of an article printed
in your paper earlier this week concerning the AACOFD, but you compound
those inaccuracies in your misdirected attack of Chief Simonds on your
To correct some inaccuracies:
1. Baltimore City, Howard County,
Montgomery County, Prince Georges County, and Fairfax County VA all use
the two paramedic staffing matrix as their standard of care. Nationally,
any fire service organization committed to meeting NFPA 1710 is required
to ensure the delivery of 2 paramedics to the scene of a medical emergency.
Your assertion that the single ALS provider system is the national standard
is without standing. You fail to reference a single source that would support
your position. A commercial aircraft cannot leave the ground without
2 pilots – why should a paramedic unit be allowed to operate with less
than 2 paramedics? Who do you think makes more life and death decisions
every day? What safety net would you want for yourself?
2. Of the 600 volunteers that you
would like to see utilized, consider that in 2002, 90% of those volunteers
failed to respond on even 10% of the calls that their companies were dispatched
to. Their companies responded because career firefighters staff their
apparatus 24 hours a day, every day. Do not misunderstand me. Volunteers
are a valuable and important part of the fire service community in AACO,
but you are setting up an artificial battle that will pit one type of responder
against another – a fire does not make the differentiation – neither should
you. Volunteer firefighters could be used to help achieve the goal
of 4 responders per piece instead of being used to offset alleged abuses
3. The 7.2 million dollar “excessive
spending” you refer to is accurate in number only. It is not Chief
Simonds’ responsibility to bear the burden for decisions made by budget
analysts in Annapolis. The fact of the matter is that for 20 years
it has been the position of the Executive and Legislative branches (not
Fire Chiefs) to pay overtime rather than hire new people to offset that
overtime. Recommend the hiring of enough people to over staff 45
positions every day as in Baltimore County and I promise you that any overtime
excesses you assert will disappear.
Anne Arundel County firefighters and paramedics
(career and volunteer) are some of the most professional, dedicated, hard
working people ever placed in the field. Your decision to attempt
to sell newspapers under the thinly veiled blanket of “exposing abuses”
is nothing more than one disgruntled employee “dropping the dime” on a
boss who was forced to make tough decisions because of a system that remains
unresponsive to the needs of its own department managers. You are
attacking the wrong person and you are listening to the wrong people.
You have done nothing to help improve public safety in Anne Arundel County
– unless you are prepared to pick up an axe or become a paramedic, I suggest
you spend more time getting your facts straight before you commit them
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