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Michigan Township Board Votes to Stop Sending Firefighters on EMS Calls

Otsego Township board sees move as cost saver

JEMS Staff

OTSEGO TOWNSHIP, Michigan – Residents of Otsego Township will no longer see firefighters on EMS calls after board members voted to end the practice.

FOX17 reports that the vote left some residents worried about response times and the level of care.

Township supervisor Bryan Winn explained that the board looked at the costs to the taxpayers and determined the savings by taking the fire department off EMS calls that Plainwell EMS is responding to.

Winn told FOX17 that there were over 450 EMS calls last year. Firefighters received an average of $18.63 an hour and an average of six to seven firefighters arrived at an EMS call, being paid for a minimum of one hour. Winn said that equaled over $50,000 for the year.

“Paying twice for the same service is not using those resources in a wise way,” Winn said.

Otsego fire chief Brandon Weber said he was surprised by the decision.

Chief Weber said that no longer responding to EMS calls would reduce call volume and personnel burnout, but the quality of service might suffer.

Weber said 10 percent of EMS calls are not handled by Plainwell EMS and mutual aid partners can average a 16 minute response time.

The change is expected to go into effect on June 30, 2020.