By Scott Bolthouse
Hub Editor in Chief
A controversial agenda item designed to eliminate current EMS services in Huron Township and enter into an agreement with Huron Valley Ambulance (HVA) for emergency runs will be decided at tonight’s Board of Trustees meeting.
The issue was first added to the Board’s agenda before the New Year and was to be decided on during the Dec. 10, 2014 meeting.
The item never made it to a vote after Huron Township Supervisor David Glaab cited the absence of an HVA representative for the decision to postpone the vote until tonight’s board meeting. The representative was scheduled to be on hand to give a presentation regarding the proposed contract.
The proposal calls for a contract that will begin Feb. 15, 2015 and last until Dec. 31, 2017, allowing HVA to take over the operation of Huron Township’s EMS needs.
According to the proposal, one HVA ambulance would be stationed in one of Huron Township’s fire stations 24 hours a day seven days per week. The township would be required to pay for the stationing of that ambulance and the housing of it’s paramedics.
Ash and Van Buren Township’s current HVA EMS services would be available for backup service if needed.
The township also has the option to place a backup ambulance in the township, which according to the proposal would be at no cost to Huron and could be operated by fire department personnel in case of a backup call or where multiple patients require rapid transport.
HVA has been operating EMS services in Van Buren and Sumpter Townships since 1986, and in Ash Township in Monroe County since 2005.
Opponents of the contract are worried that the emergency response times within the township could be slower if the EMS service becomes privatized, namely due to the fact that the HVA ambulance placed in Huron Township could be called to back up another community, possibly leaving the area without an EMS vehicle to respond to other emergency calls.
Layoffs of current fire fighting and EMS staff are also on the minds of public safety officials and residents in Huron Township, even though it hasn’t been officially announced that it will happen.
During an interview in December, Huron Township Trustee R.P. Lilly stated that the decision to privative EMS service in Huron is strictly a financial decision.
Currently, Huron Township has a fully staffed department that operates EMS services 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
Tonight’s meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Township Hall, 22950 Huron River Dr., New Boston, MI 48164.
Stay tuned to The Huron Hub for updates regarding the board’s decision.