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Village Budget Explained: Emergency Medical Services

CPR classFrom the Mayor’s Office:

This week’s third installment on the Fire Department will focus on Emergency Medical Service (EMS). The Village and your tax dollars have never directly provided EMS, EMS has always been a contracted service based upon competitive bidding.
Prior to 1978 the only EMS services available to the Village were provided by the two funeral homes in the village, Stroud Lawrence and Reed Nichols and consisted almost exclusively of transportation to a hospital. In 1978 the village up graded the EMS by contracting with C&A an EMS provider. The service provided by C&A and particularly the response times (time from when the 911 call is received until the ambulance arrives) were spotty and largely unsatisfactory. C&A lacked an established place of business and largely parked ambulances with the motors running in the metro parks waiting for a call. They served the area as far west as Orange so waiting times for an ambulance to show up could be long; 10 to 15 minutes was not uncommon. The village and surrounding communities searched throughout most of the 1980’s for other bidders to improve the service. These efforts were largely without success. By 1988 the Suburban Fire Department began training to offer an alternative bidder for the EMS with intent to bid on the contract in 1989. In the summer of 1988, and without warning, C&A declared bankruptcy on a Friday and ceased operations leaving the village and surrounding communities without EMS services. The following Monday, on an emergency basis, the Suburban Fire Department began to provide EMS to the village and the other communities that it served. Since that time it has been the selected bidder and service provider of EMS services to Chagrin and the surrounding communities.
Today EMS is a 100% regionalized and a contracted service with all costs shared by the communities of; Chagrin Falls both village and township, Hunting Valley, South Russell, Moreland Hills and Bentleyville.
The quality of the EMS service we enjoy today is second to none. Today the EMS does much more than just provide emergency transport to the hospital. The majority of the personnel are certified Paramedics and can administer I.V. drugs and provide other advanced lifesaving procedures such as Trauma care, Cardiac monitoring and conversion to name a few. The remainder of the personnel are certified emergency medical technicians.  Today the EMS equipment consists of three advanced life support ambulances one of which is kept in reserve. These ambulances are equipped with advanced life support systems including: Cardiac monitoring, heart defibrillation, intravenous drug therapy and Trauma stabilization.
No matter how good the equipment is and how advanced the training may be, it is all of little value if the response is not timely when needed. When it comes to EMS minutes and seconds count and in fact that may be the difference in outcome. Today our average EMS response time within the village is 3 minutes and 30 seconds from the time the 911call is received to EMS is on the scene. This excellent response time is a factor of both our personnel’s high level of training and its physical location in the center of Chagrin Falls.
What does this advanced EMS service cost the village resident? In 2015 the total net cost was $174,000.00. This works out to a cost per resident of $42.43 per year or $0.81 cents per week. Compare your monthly cell phone or cable bill with the cost of this life saving service and I think you will agree this is a great value for all of us in the Village.
To recap the services and costs of the Village Fire department:
1. hazardous material protection& advanced rescue $3,500.00,

2. firefighting and prevention $300,000.00,

3. state of the art EMS protection $174,000.00

the grand total of $477,500.00 in 2015.

This equates to $116.00 per resident of annual cost or $2.23 per week, about the cost of a cup of coffee. .

Next week I will complete our safety forces review by explaining our Police department’s operations. Then onto the utilities and street departments.
Mayor Bill Tomko

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