MANCHESTER – The Manchester Township Council approved the creation of an Emergency Medical Services Director at its most recent meeting.
The creation of this job is another step toward the township forming its own emergency medical services team. Officials have said they hope to have that operational by early 2020.
This nonunion, civilian position’s duties include “supervision, planning, coordination and implementation of various work activities while upholding standard operating procedures as is related to providing emergency medical services to the residents of Manchester Township,” according to the description provided by the township. The director will report to a police command staff designee.
Qualified candidates must have 5 years’ experience as an EMT-Basic, Mobile Intensive Care Paramedic, or a licensed registered professional nurse in New Jersey. They must have 5 years’ experience as a supervisor in a state-licensed EMS agency.
The pay range is $75,000 to $95,000 per year to start.
The full job description is available through the municipal clerk’s office.
The council at its July 8 meeting also approved a resolution authorizing a contract to purchase three “2019 or newer” Ford F-450 four-wheel-drive and two Ford F-450 two-wheel-drive ambulances. The contract amount with Pfund Superior Sales, under the H-GAC Cooperative Purchasing Agreement, will not exceed $972,000.
The five ambulances will be purchased with funds through the general capital fund.
Manchester resident Hank Glenn asked why the township could not use or purchase ambulances from either of the existing volunteer EMS services, Whiting or Manchester. Or, if nothing else, stagger the purchase of new ambulances.
Police Chief Lisa Parker said the township is under no obligation to purchase the older rigs from either EMS, nor are those volunteer squads obligated to sell anything to the township.
Council Vice President Samuel Fusaro, leading the meeting for an absent President Joan Brush, added it’s cheaper to purchase all five at the same time.
In addition to the ambulance purchases, the township also plans to purchase:
- Five various Stryker stretchers, five Lucas CPR machines, six Laerdal FR3 defibrillators, immobilization backboards, Reeves stretchers, stair chairs, Hurst extrication tools and “other various equipment,” estimated cost $361,000, 15-year average period of usefulness.
- Mobile and portable radios, estimated cost $105,000, 10-year average period of usefulness.
- Mobile computers and related equipment, estimated cost $49,000, 7-year period of average usefulness.
Township officials have repeatedly praised the work and dedication of Manchester first aid volunteers. But the lack of volunteers coupled with an increasingly aging population, which bring with it increasing healthcare demands, forced officials to consider going to a paid first aid squad.
Currently, both Whiting and Manchester squads rely on Quality Medical Transport to answer 75 percent of calls received. Whiting has three rigs but can only run one because of lack of manpower. The squad runs 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday and has between 20-25 members. Manchester First Aid Squad has 27 members and three rigs.
Mayor Kenneth Palmer said in an April 12 statement that “[We] intend to hire approximately 24 EMTs which are state certified and trained to operate four to five ambulances. The EMTs and ambulances will serve the residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, something that our volunteer squads are unable to do. Certainly, there may be times when we need some additional help. To address those needs, we will either enter into mutual aid agreements with our neighboring municipalities and/or contract with private services. The goal is to deliver the most efficient means of providing [Manchester residents] with emergency medical services.”
Volunteer first aid members have complained that they are being shut out of the process.
“We’re doing our best. I don’t want to see our squad being crumbled because the chief and the mayor and some other people got together and figured they were going to help this township out. Why don’t they discuss it with us?…We’re all people in the township to do work together,” Manchester First Aid Squad member Caroline Bruckel said back in April.
Volunteer members have continued to attend council meetings but have mostly refrained from public comment since then.