Laws and lack of state agreements put up road blocks to faster E - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Laws and lack of state agreements put up road blocks to faster EMS services

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VERNON TWP, Ohio -

In Vernon Township a culvert repair project will cut off easy access to fire and EMS services for people living on State Route 88 near the Ohio Pennsylvania line whose house numbers are higher than 7774. 

Burghill Vernon's Fire Chief George Snyder said, "We are using county and township roads to get around. It's going to add several minutes to our response time."

Snyder added, "We have mutual aid agreements with West Salem and Greenville Fire Departments to help reach those homes blocked by construction. But when it comes to emergency medical calls for help, it will just take us longer to get to the areas that are past the culvert repair work being done, that runs from Ohio to the Pennsylvania State line. Ohio does not have a compact type agreement in emergency medical services to be able to allow practitioners to come in from another state to Ohio to be able to practice here. This effects not just Vernon Township but other areas that are close to our five states that border Ohio."

The repair is putting up roadblocks for EMS to provide help in the most timely manner to reach around 30 families who live from the culvert replacement in Ohio on State Route 88 to the Pennsylvania state line.

Christina, who was helping her daughter with a 4H project, said it's not right. "No dividing line should exist when it comes to getting help quickly to save your life or the life of someone you love. I think there should be something worked out where we are able to call an ambulance or fire department right over the border with Pennsylvania, while road construction is blocking the ambulances from coming in the other direction from Ohio." 

Chief Snyder is hoping lawmakers in Ohio, and all five bordering states will work out an agreement so no roads, or avenues to help, are closed when it comes emergency medical calls.

Snyder emphasized, "All of us in the job are willing to go help wherever somebody needs us, but sometimes there is an imaginary line that prevents us from being able to do that. If people are having a medical emergency, we want them to call for help right away instead of waiting. We also want people to make sure they have smoke detectors on all floors and in the garage. If they are alerted faster, we can be notified faster. We are a voluntary fire department. Our firefighters must leave jobs to get here, suit up, get the fire trucks and equipment needed to respond and help you. Greenville is full time, so that helps and again we have mutual aid with the West Salem Fire Departments. The Ohio Department of Transportation started the culvert replacement, and it is expected to be completed in a total of three days, which would be on Wednesday, but of course, that is if the weather cooperates and if workers don't run into any problems."

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