SWARTZ CREEK and CLAYTON TWP. — After months of planning and preparation, the Swartz Creek Area Fire Department officially began providing EMS response service in the City of Swartz Creek and Clayton Township on Thursday, Sept. 2.
“This has been a long process, but with the support of our community leaders, the dedication of our firefighting staff and the EMS equipment contributions made in the memory of the late City Councilman Jentery Farmer, as well as donations made by Swartz EMS and MEDSTAR EMS, we have been able to launch this response with minimal to no cost to the residents we serve,” said fire Chief Dave Plumb.
For nearly a year, Genesee County has been plagued by understaffed and/ or limited available EMS transporting units, Plumb said.
Most of the issues stem from the COVID-19 sanitation protocols that delay the turnaround time, he said.
In addition, EMS companies are facing staffing shortages due to employees leaving the industry over fear of exposure, and employees being quarantined, Plumb said.
“Residents in Genesee County have experienced excessive response times as EMS transporting units respond from the other side of the county … or as units are being pulled from other counties to meet the demand of EMS transport to the hospital,” he said.
“We anticipate that our approach to EMS response in the communities we serve will provide aid and care to our residents in those instances that a priority emergency response is made, and the ambulance is more than eight miles away.”
The department currently has eight licensed EMS personnel who have agreed to respond to incidents during the month of September. Each has taken an assigned rotation and will respond individually.
Seven more personnel have completed 56 hours of Emergency Medical Services training and will take their national EMS certification test this month. Once licensed, they will join the rotations.
“We are excited and proud of this accomplishment and will provide monthly updates to our boards starting in October,” Plumb said. “These reports will keep them aware of our response times and how our interactions affected the care of our residents, while still maintaining compliance with HIPPA requirements.” — L.R.