It's unwise to Privatize

Your EMS Provider Should Care More About Your Safety Than Profits


I’ve grown up spending countless hours at my grandparents’ house in Coventry Center and for the last two and a half decades my wife and I have chosen to raise our family here in Coventry as well. I am a Lieutenant on Rescue #7 in Central Coventry.  I hold a certification as a firefighter, Paramedic and I am also a licensed professional nurse.  I have worked in the emergency medical field for nearly four decades as well as several Hospitals and emergency centers.  I have worked for Central Coventry Rescue for over thirty years, both as a volunteer and now as a paid firefighter/EMT.  I have also worked for several private ambulance companies over the years.


The men and women that I work with here in Coventry are your Central Coventry fire fighters and are also your friends and neighbors. And as members of this community we too are genuinely concerned about your safety.  Actually it’s also our job to worry about your safety and welfare.


That’s why we need to tell and spread the word to the citizens of Central Coventry why handing over emergency medical services to a private, for-profit EMS company is bad for public safety and bad for all taxpayers.  In the end it will cost you so much more.


As a past employee of several different private ambulance companies, I can say with certainty that Private ambulance systems provide services to make money.  In most cases, these private, for-profit companies are staffed with very young, new and inexperienced EMT’s just looking to enter the world of EMS.   These companies survive by compensating these “green” employees at the lowest entry level pay that they can.  By doing so, private EMS systems also experience high employee turnover rates, forcing them to rely on less-qualified and less-experienced personnel to do the job.


When you have a medical emergency, do you want the people coming to your rescue to care more about money than your life?   Private EMS services are driven by bottom line profits over quality patient care and continuity of patient care.


I know that I and my co-workers did not choose fire fighting and EMS to make a lot of money. To the contrary, we are called to this noble profession because we want to help people and we have a genuine concern and desire to do so.  We consider our profession as a career, not as a job.


Over the years, the Central Coventry Fire District has invested tens of thousands of dollars per employee with training and educating me and the other firefighters and EMT’s to be able to serve and assist our community in all kinds of emergencies.  We have the training needed to provide you with the best in pre-hospital care and to save lives. And because most, if not all of us have lived and served in this community for many years, we have experience that cannot be duplicated by any out-of-state private ambulances services.


We recognize that times are tough … but our proposal to balance the budget and maintain the public safety the people in this community have come to know and rightfully deserve was unnecessarily rejected by the Fire District Board. 


In the interest of public safety, for-profit EMS firms are not the answer. There is a better way.


I ask you to please take a moment today and to e-mail or call the Central Coventry Fire District Board and ask them to stop their unsafe and costly plan to liquidate the Fire District and to privatize our EMS system.


Board President, Fred Gralinski         fredccfd@gmail.com              401-480-5561

Vice President, Marie Baker              marieccfd@gmail.com           401-258-8729




Michael DeCesare, EMT-P, LPN

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kenny Colson January 21, 2014 at 02:53 PM
I would just like to say that while your article does in fact bring up many valid points on the level of training and experience of the FD employees vs Private Employees your article also makes the individual EMTs sound like a bunch of incompetent , greedy assholes , which is not the case.In fact MANY of the EMTs who work for private companies ALSO work for departments and therefore have had the same training as you claim thru their departments as well as their EMT classroom training . Also your comment about "Do you want the people showing up to rescue you to care more about you or making a profit" is frankly bullshit at the individual EMT level, maybe at a management level you have a valid argument but when I show up to an emergency call at a nursing facility etc the last thing on my mind is how big my paycheck is gonna be at the end of the week,as you also yourself pointed out these companies pay us very little and no benefits so none of us who work private companies are in any way trying or expecting to get rich at the end of the week , we all wanted to get our EMT liscence to help people in our communities just as you say you do the private companies are a stepping stone to bettering ourselves and gaining the experience while we apply for departments and try to get on the fancy red rescue or engine ,but to classify any EMT who works private as less competent is not okay , most the time the only difference is the paintjob on the truck . I will steer clear of the debate on whether private companies can and should be providing primary 911 service to communities other than saying that it has in fact been done in many other parts of the country with success and good patient care has been maintained.
Cadre January 22, 2014 at 05:16 PM
Thank You, Kenny Colson. Do FD's in Rhode Island nowadays hire EMT-Basic's?
Kenny Colson January 23, 2014 at 11:39 AM
Most FD around here require you to have your EMT-C (cardiac its a level specific to RI) or Intermediate at the time of application.The ones that do allow you to test and attend the academy with just your B will require you to get the Cardiac or Intermediate(now changed to the Advanced EMT) within a year of being hired.
harleyrider8272 January 23, 2014 at 12:11 PM
So Kenney if you work for a Fire Dept. and you are working on an Ambulance is that double dipping?? You in fact fail to mention that an EMT is basic where the people working on Rescues have a much higher level of training (EMT-C) or higher. Do you work for Tom Carroll??
harleyrider8272 January 23, 2014 at 12:13 PM
Also Kenny you are looking someday to get hired to a Fire Dept....Warwick, Cranston maybe??


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