Your Opinion: Avoid duplication in medical responses

Dear Editor:

Why is it that when you call for an ambulance in this town, a fire truck shows up? Only later does an ambulance arrive. It makes no sense for one emergency to trigger two separate (and very expensive) responses. Having two separate systems is a waste of tax money.

Rather than the current unwieldy system, the Jefferson City Fire Department could have ambulances stationed at three well chosen city firehouses, with fully trained EMS staff. This should create a response time just as fast as the current system that uses 40-foot-long fire trucks running around and only semi-trained medical staff. It would also reduce the number of fire trucks the city has to buy and replace as well as reduce wear and tear, since they wouldn’t be making medical responses. That savings alone along with dropping out of the county ambulance system, might be enough to pay for the cost of the three ambulances and associated training

Alternately, the Cole County ambulance system could add two more stations inside the city limits and completely eliminate the need for JCFD to respond to medical emergencies in the first place. This would take the JC Fire Department completely out of the emergency medical response business. After all they are a fire department, not a medical department. Doing this should not increase the response time, it might even lower it. How did they get involved in medical response in the first place.

Did the City Council consider either of these plans before they rushed this half baked sales tax increase proposal to the voters? Perhaps structural changes involving the division of responsibilities between the ambulance service and the JCFD could eliminate the need for any sales tax increase, or at least reduce the amount of the increase that is needed. Sales taxes are a burden on the working and middle classes and in this case are very unfair.

Call your city council member. They don’t get enough feedback from regular taxpayers. Demand that they reconsider this and think outside the box. Maybe we don’t need a tax increase after all.

Issue-oriented letters to the editor in response to this or about other local topics are welcome. All letters should be limited to 400 words. The author's name must appear with the letter, and the name, address and phone number provided for verification. Letters that cannot be verified by telephone will not be published. Send letters for publication to editor@newstribune.com

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