The Mad River Township Trustees seemed unaware of the problems that have developed within the emergency services department when Brook Whitacre addressed them on Monday night at their first meeting of the year.
Whitacre reported that on January 4, 2019 she called 911 for an ambulance when her child was in need of medical attention but waited 40 minutes for help to arrive at her home.
“This is unacceptable” she said when the 911 dispatcher in Clark County had to take the time to transfer her call to a local dispatcher that works from home. Whitacre noted that she was not kept on the line with the dispatcher and never received a call back to let her know of the delay in medical services during the emergency. “I know there are things going on at the fire house” she said noting that there was a medic unit sitting in the bay at the fire house at the time of her call.
“At no point should my husband have to call people” Whitacre told trustees in regards to finding help for their child. She also noted that it was “too many minutes that could save a life”. A good Samaritan from her neighborhood helped the Whitacre’s until an ambulance arrived.
In response Trustee McClure who was appointed president for the board earlier in the evening suggested that “if it was 40 minutes then 35 or 30 minutes probably seemed like a long time”. He suggested that “there must have been something” regarding the long delay of response.
Whitacre responded to his comment by stating “my trust in the department is pretty slim” and asked “where are you in staffing”?
During the discussion McClure stated that the department is “constantly trying to add staff”. Earlier in the meeting resident Ned Clark asked about the recent resignations of three fire fighter paramedics, another paramedic and a fire fighter EMT in the past 30 – 45 days. The trustees seemed to be unaware of the 5 resignations with 4 happening in quick succession.
When asked why the response was delayed Chief of Emergency Services Marc “Tim” Wendling suggested that he was at a call on the highway with “Kenny Bostick” and that another accident had occurred and Bethel Township was called for mutual aid leaving the Whitacre call as a third call to which the Enon/Mad River Township department did not have a crew available to man the second medic unit.
The call was routed to Hustead EMS which is according to Chief Heather Kaufman “strictly a volunteer department”. Kaufman went on to add that her department is not staffed between 6 pm and 6 am and a crew had to be found to respond to the emergency. Scott Kaufman noted that it took 12 minutes for a volunteer from their department to respond to the scene which is due to the distance from near Yellow Springs to Enon.
Wendling also stated that the department has no protocol for their dispatchers to stay on the line with a caller until a crew is dispatched. It was suggested that Whitacre should have called back to receive an update.
When the family was told that the trustees would be looking into the issue, the grandfather of the child responded “looking into it is fine, but it needs to be on the top”. He went on to state “we pay our taxes for this”.
McClure responded on behalf of the board by stating “I can’t imagine” how the parents felt not receiving help in a timely manner. His final remark was to state that “the current administration has added more staff” than any previous leadership.
Although the trustees have approved new hires, the veterans with more than 10 years each on the department and their combined years of experience has raised concerns following this incident.