On May 30, the Cecil Whig published a story, "Southern Cecil debates fire co. staffing solutions," which detailed the budget request by the Cecil County Department of Emergency Services (DES) to hire additional EMTs to drive volunteer fire company vehicles. The Hacks Point Fire Company (HPFC) would like to clarify our formal position on the DES proposal and highlight our role in EMS response within the Southern District.
HPFC welcomes any plan to improve patient care for the citizens of Cecil County. These plans must be thoroughly developed, with significant input and collaboration with all stakeholders. Unfortunately, there was very little collaboration with the volunteer fire companies on this proposal.
HPFC Fire Chief Frank Redford was approached by DES Director Richard Brooks in January about an idea for DES to hire additional personnel to drive volunteer fire company vehicle. On Feb. 27, Director Brooks met with HPFC Board of Directors to review the DES proposal. There was considerable concern, as specific critical details that had not been addressed. The concerns raised by the HPFC Board of Directors have never been addressed since the February meeting. In addition, no further conversations on the proposal were held with DES since the February meeting. HPFC learned of the budget request through the Cecil Whig article dated May 3. Needless to say, there was very little communication or collaboration during the development of the DES proposal.
While HPFC still has concerns around the DES proposal, we do understand that a few of our sister companies in the county may need to rely on the plan in order to keep up with the volume of EMS calls within their respective districts. HPFC is hopeful that DES will be willing to work collaboratively in the future on any patient care improvement plans.
Over the past three years, HPFC has seen increased demand for mutual aid calls within the Earleville and Cecilton areas. HPFC has successfully met that demand through continued recruitment and retention efforts, establishing response incentive programs, and proactive coverage scheduling. Through these efforts, HPFC responded to 409 medical calls in 2018, of which 285 were in the Earleville and Cecilton areas. The HPFC mutual aid responses have been critical to easing the minds of the community that their call for help will be answered promptly and professionally. HPFC has continued to demonstrate the ability to serve the broader area, and stands ready to serve the citizens of Cecil County.