The Village of Shawnee Hills, like many other jurisdictions in Delaware County, is keeping a close eye on the Liberty Township emergency medical services (EMS) conflict as it unfolds. The village, however, wasn’t content on just watching the events unfold. Instead, village officials elected to take a stance on the matter.
“We see the handwriting on the wall — it’s a political move,” said Pat Monahan, Village of Shawnee Hills mayor.
Monahan said the village, which is adjacent to both Liberty Township and the city of Powell, has an agreement with the Concord Township Fire Department for fire/EMS support — Concord has a mutual aid agreement with the Liberty Township Fire Department.
Shawnee Hills Village Council on Monday, Jan. 14, adopted a resolution opposing Delaware County’s proposed changes to Liberty Township’s fire-based EMS model.
“Council for the Village of Shawnee Hills is aware of, … a proposal to shift EMS service delivery from the Liberty Township Fire Department to a countywide EMS service administered under the purview of the Delaware County Commissioners,” states the resolution.
“Although the Village of Shawnee Hills is not directly or immediately impacted by this pending proposal, … a shift from fire-based EMS with cross-trained firefighter paramedics to a countywide paramedic-only EMS service model could … lead to similar transitions in neighboring areas, … would possibly pose a greater danger to village residents … negatively impact their general health, safety, and welfare,” the resolution goes on to state. “Council for the Village of Shawnee Hills hereby declares its opposition to the current proposal to shift EMS service delivery from Liberty Township Fire Department to countywide EMS service administered by Delaware County.”
“For an elected official, safety is still the number one concern, and I think this sets a bad precedent,” Monahan said. “It’s scary. I’m old enough to remember when there wasn’t 911.”
Dan Mathews, council president pro tempore, originally read a letter of support in conjunction to the City of Powell’s resolution from Dec. 4 supporting Liberty Township’s current EMS model and asking for no changes to it.
“We basically piggybacked on Powell council’s resolution,” he said. “(Liberty’s) model mimics (Concord’s) model.”
Mathews said he hopes it doesn’t take a bad turn, “ending up in purgatory and not operating as it does now.”
However, if it does, Mathews added, “I hope it doesn’t spread to Concord Township. We have a symbiotic relationship with them — they’re good guys.”
The resolution passed by council also states that the fire/EMS services provided by Concord and Liberty townships have “been exceptional,” and council thinks the current model should not be changed.
Concord Trustee Bart Johnson said the township is like Switzerland in that it gets along with everyone. He said that Concord Township has multiple mutual aid agreements with surrounding jurisdictions.
“For those jurisdictions — Washington Township, Liberty Township, Jerome Township, and Delaware County EMS — we have agreements with, we feel all are at a standard of care able to cover our residents in our absence,” he said. “It’s about patient care. If I’m having a heart attack, I want someone to get there fast, and I don’t care who it is. I just want help.”