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Fire department in Maine stops EMS due to COVID-19

Rumford FD also tells firefighters to stop working part-time for ambulance company during pandemic

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Is this really a thing now? A fire department pulls out of EMS during a time of crisis? What message does that send to a community?

That’s the news from Rumford, Maine last week. The latest in the story is the town and fire department could face an investigation for not giving Maine EMS and the community 30-days notice about halting EMS responses. Rumford Fire Department has 10 full-time employees with one currently on medical leave.

Here’s an excerpt from the original Sun Journal article last week:

Rumford Fire Chief Chris Reed recommended to the town’s Board of Selectmen that the Rumford Fire Department terminate the department’s EMS services during the pandemic to prevent firefighter exposure to the coronavirus. 

The board voted Thursday to approve Reed’s recommendation.

The exceptions will be calls involving trauma and immediate life-threatening incidents.

“The loss of any to illness would have a huge impact,” Reed said.

Read entire story

In addition, Rumford Fire Department has asked the five of its firefighters who work part time at the local ambulance service to stop doing so during the pandemic.

The reason I ask if this is a thing is because this apparently isn’t the only department that has made this decision. While there’s been no news coverage on it — so I am not comfortable sharing the details — a department in another part of the country has apparently taken the same step, down to ordering career firefighters to cease working for local EMS providers and volunteers who work EMS to stop running fire calls.

The whole thing is a little baffling and I would love to learn more about these decisions and the reaction in these communities.

 

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