For a quarter of a century, the city of Tiffin has lived within its means. To meet the challenges of this recession, the city has reduced staff and reduced work hours, with fire and police unions giving concessions to maintain emergency services. Employee insurance contributions increased while wages remain at 2008 levels. The city could have weathered the economic storm. That is, until Gov. John Kasich eliminated the estate tax and balanced Ohio's budget by cutting most local government funding. Tiffin's income loss is nearly $803,500, slightly more than 8 percent of the general fund budget. This will result in significant cuts to fire/EMS and police staffing.
The fire/rescue division will operate with nine or 10 fewer firefighter/paramedics. With three fewer firefighter/paramedics on duty every day, at least one ambulance will not be staffed and on some days, Station 2 may be closed. It will be difficult to respond to two or three simultaneous emergencies.
In 2011, the fire/rescue division responded to 2,435 emergency incidents. Our three ambulances treated 1,934 patients and transported 1,530 to the hospital. Patients ranged in age from 3 months to 102 years of age, the average age 57. During the first nine months of 2012, we have responded to 1,800 emergency incidents, treating 1,443 patients and transporting 1,131.
Simultaneous ambulance and fire incidents occurred more than 250 times in 2011 and 160 times through September 2012. Often, the more serious patient is the second or third incident.
Depending on the EMS emergency, paramedics must carry between 50 and 95 pounds of medical equipment and a 90-pound cot to the patient. It takes more than two firefighters/paramedics to safely move a patient on the cot downstairs to the ambulance. A paramedic-equipped fire engine responds with the ambulance to assist in safely moving the patient to the ambulance and help treat a seriously ill patient. If the patient's condition does not require extra paramedics in the ambulance, the fire engine is available to immediately respond to a simultaneous emergency.
The members of the Tiffin Fire/Rescue Division pledge to continue providing the best fire and EMS service possible with the fire/EMS members available. Please support the quarter-percent income tax increase to keep enough firefighter/paramedics on duty for an immediate response to the second or third emergency incident.
William S. Ennis Jr.,