BATH TOWNSHIP – Miami Township Trustee Chris Mucher and Fire and Rescue Chief Colin Altman paid a visit, via Facebook Live, to the April 20 Bath Township meeting, and Altman presented a report that broke down fire and rescue runs during 2019.
Altman also reported to the board of trustees that the fire and rescue department has taken the necessary steps to provide essential protective gear that has helped reduce first responders’ exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Altman said the department has strived to lower the risk levels during the last month and a half.
“We have lucked out, and we are well positioned in terms of personal protection equipment. Luckily, the county was on top of things and had enough equipment to distribute to our crews,” Altman said. “As of today, we have not had any significant exposure among our staff. We have transported two patients who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, and unfortunately, one of those two patients passed away at Soin Medical Center.”
Thus far, the fire and rescue department has not transported any person from Bath Township who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, Altman said.
As of Jan. 1, 2019, the Miami Township Fire and Rescue has provided fire and EMS coverage to Zone 3 in Bath Township which encompasses the eastern section of the township. According to Altman, the department dealt with 1,259 emergencies in 2019, which represented a 17 percent increase compared to the previous year. He noted that approximately 8 percent of those annual runs, which added up to 109 runs, were to Bath Township.
“The majority of those calls were medical calls, followed by crashes,” said Altman. “In fact, the amount of car crashes we have responded to have doubled since the department has taken on Bath Township. We have seen a significant amount of crashes at the intersection of Route 235 and Yellow Springs Road and Route 235 and Byron Road.”
Altman stated that response times to calls along the Route 235 corridor have been “streamlined” since Fairborn Fire and EMS began responding to mutual aid calls in Bath Township.
“It was really nice to get that call from Chief Reichert telling us that Fairborn has joined us and is supplying mutual aid to the township,” Altman said.
Altman also pointed out that Miami Township Fire and Rescue has seen a 20 to 30 percent decrease in emergency runs since the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus. He attributed that drop in transports to residents who have chosen to stay home and away from any possible exposure to the virus at area medical centers.
“We do anticipate that calls will increase once restrictions are lifted, and more and more people go out and start their lives again,” said Altman. “We will most likely end this year with a lower volume of runs because last year was a record year for us.”
After Altman concluded his report, he discussed the fire and rescue department’s plans for the future. He also expressed his appreciation to Miami Township voters who widely passed a five-year, 3.8-mill renewal fire levy during the mail-in primary election in March.
Altman told trustees that the construction of the new fire and rescue station, located at 1001 Xenia Ave., on the south side of Yellow Springs, is m ore than60 percent completed. The project is being funded through a 2.4-mill, 30-year bond issue that voters approved in May 2017. Completion of the project is targeted for October.
“Once the construction project is completed, we will hold a hose uncoupling ceremony in place of a ribbon-cutting ceremony. I have never done one before, but I am real excited about it,” said Altman.
The chief also talked about a previous conversation the Bath Township trustees had with him regarding Bath Township’s proposal to purchase equipment the fire and rescue department would possibly need at this time. Bath Township Trustee Steve Ross previously noted that the township would purchase the equipment and loan it to the fire and rescue department.
After discussing the department’s current needs with his staff, Altman told township trustees that Miami Township Fire and Rescue would greatly value an additional Lucas Chest Compression System, which first responders use during a cardiac arrest event. He explained that the department has two ambulances but only one Lucas CPR device. The price of the device would add up to $14,881.39.
“The Lucas CPR device we currently have was used on a Bath Township resident last year who survived and walked out of the hospital,” Altman said. “We have used the Lucas device multiple times, and it works. We believe that the addition of another Lucas device would best benefit Bath and Miami Township residents.”
Bath Township Trustee Kassie Lester moved to approve the purchase of the Lucas device, and Trustee Tom Pitstick seconded the motion. The board of trustees unanimously approved the motion.
“We greatly appreciate the support of Bath Township and look forward to working with the township in the future,” Altman told trustees.
Ross also expressed his gratitude to Mucher and Altman for providing excellent fire and EMS coverage to Bath Township, since Jan. 1, 2019.
“Bath Township could not be more thrilled with the services that you have supplied to our township. Miami Fire and Rescue rescued Bath Township when we were in need, and we thank you very much for that,” Ross said. “We want to help make you bigger, faster, better, and stronger, and this purchase fits into the legalities of what we can do.”
Linda Collins is a freelance writer for Greene County News