Rumford firefighters stop responding to medical calls due to coronavirus

Rumford firefighters have stopped responding to medical calls due to the coronavirus outbreak in the state.Town Manager Stacy Carter said that does not mean medical calls will go unanswered.Rumford contracts with a private ambulance service that will response to all medical emergencies as it always has.”The public should understand that if they pick up 911 and call for an ambulance, an ambulance will respond and their medical needs will be taken care of,” Carter said.Before the coronavirus outbreak firefighters would often respond to emergency calls as backup, but town leaders decided the risk to firefighters was too great to continue the practice.”If we infect our firefighters that would put us out of a firefighting response. We can’t jeopardize our citizens in that manner,” Carter said.Carter cited a number of recent serious fires as reasons why they need every firefighter available. Residents said they understand why the change was made.”I think it’s a good idea because we need firemen, and most of the firemen are EMTs, so I think it’s a good idea,” resident Sue Frost said.Maine Emergency Medical Services is investigating the Rumford Fire Department over the change because the town did not give 30 days’ notice.Carter said the town did not have 30 days’ notice to give, and his top priority is the safety of the town’s firefighters.

Rumford firefighters have stopped responding to medical calls due to the coronavirus outbreak in the state.

Town Manager Stacy Carter said that does not mean medical calls will go unanswered.

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Rumford contracts with a private ambulance service that will response to all medical emergencies as it always has.

“The public should understand that if they pick up 911 and call for an ambulance, an ambulance will respond and their medical needs will be taken care of,” Carter said.

Before the coronavirus outbreak firefighters would often respond to emergency calls as backup, but town leaders decided the risk to firefighters was too great to continue the practice.

“If we infect our firefighters that would put us out of a firefighting response. We can’t jeopardize our citizens in that manner,” Carter said.

Carter cited a number of recent serious fires as reasons why they need every firefighter available. Residents said they understand why the change was made.

“I think it’s a good idea because we need firemen, and most of the firemen are EMTs, so I think it’s a good idea,” resident Sue Frost said.

Maine Emergency Medical Services is investigating the Rumford Fire Department over the change because the town did not give 30 days’ notice.

Carter said the town did not have 30 days’ notice to give, and his top priority is the safety of the town’s firefighters.