Playing Games with Lives
There are reports that it took University City’s ambulance service up to 15 minutes to respond to an emergency call last week when a resident had a heart attack. Three to four minutes is the benchmark for this sort of emergency. A delay like this could have been deadly.
According to University City Council member Paulette Carr, the delay was caused by a lack of mutual aid. Ordinarily when there is an emergency call in University City, EMS personnel and firefighters from surrounding cities such as Clayton and Brentwood are available to help. Most of the fire departments in this part of the county provide relief for one another to help lighten the load and improve response times. This is how mutual aid works.
According to Carr, Clayton had an ambulance ready to go. Under these circumstances, a 15-minute delay was unnecessary.
We’ve been told by reliable sources that the other fire departments in the region recently blacklisted University City from the mutual aid agreement. University City contracted out for EMS with a private company earlier this month, against the wishes of some of the bosses in the county firefighters union. The result: if you don’t play by our rules, we won’t cooperate with you.
When there’s a labor dispute between a private sector union and a private business, it doesn’t cause this kind of problem. If UPS and the Teamsters can’t work well together, consumers can use FedEx instead. There is not an alternative fire service for citizens of University City to use. When it comes to the government, union executives cannot afford to let petty disagreements stop the delivery of services.
A handful of executives in the St. Louis County firefighters union seem to be playing games with people’s lives. If they can’t put service to the public above getting their way on every little thing, then perhaps they don’t belong in our government.