The report generated from this study was released on Thursday, February 17th but has been in the possession of Harford County Executive David Craig for more than a year. The study and original transmittal letter to Craig is dated Sept. 12, 2009. Craig announced Thursday that a 16-member commission has been assembled to implement the recommendations of the study and continue review of both fire and EMS services.
The study first outlines serious concerns regarding emergency ambulance services. “The present deployment of EMS resources in Harford County is in serious need of overhaul to reduce the late responses and failures to respond,” the consultant, who studied 2008 response time figures, wrote,“No one calling 9-1-1 for an EMS emergency should have to wait for a second and third due EMS unit to be dispatched while the closest EMS unit stands unstaffed,” the report adds.
The Buraker study speaks of an “aging” fire apparatus fleet which should have a 20-year replacement schedule. One recommendation points to a planned construction of new fire and EMS stations near Patterson Mill Road and Route 924 in Emmorton along Route 543 between Fountain Green and Hickory and in Churchville near Routes 22 and 136 and in Riverside. The study also recommends that the county and the fire and EMS association “implement separate fire station models for paid and volunteer.”
Other recommendations include a computerized system to catalog all maintenance records, improvements to existing fire stations, including bunkhouses which will help in recruitment and retention of volunteers.