Today The Repository published a story about an emergency call from the Canton Memorial Fieldhouse on January 2, 2010 for emergency assiatance for an injured basketball player.
For the SCPR there are two concerns for Canton and Stark County citizens that come out of this incident:
First, was there a breakdown in the 9-1-1 call receiving and dispatch operations?
Second, is Safety Director Thomas Ream being candid in his assessment that the layoff of 28 Canton Professional Firefighters Ass'n members by the Healy administration played no role in the delayed response reported by Canton Repository reporter Ed Balint?
On the first question: Yes, the 9-1-1 Stark Emergency Management Call system worked seamlessly to get the call to the Canton Firefighters dispatch center.
On the second question: No, Ream is being disingenuous.
He has to know full well that the medical response capability of the Canton firefighters has been seriously affected in a negative way by the layoff by the Healy administration of 28 firefighters a few weeks ago.
The SCPR's assessment, based on talking with a number of sources, is that the firemen got the call lickety-split and wanted to respond within minutes but had only two units working medical calls on the 2nd both of which were fully engaged in other calls at the time that the Memorial Fieldhouse call came in.
A firefighter source tells the SCPR that the Canton firefighters, before the 28 firefighters were laid off, normally had 3 units available and two combination units in reserve. Had the 3rd unit been staffed, the source says that the Canton firefighters would have been able to respond within a few minutes of receiving the call.
Canton City Council is meeting tonight and one would expect the likes of Allen Schulman (Council president) and Councilwoman Mary Cirelli to be setting the record straight on what the SCPR believes to be Ream spin on behalf of the Healy administration.