AUSABLE TWP. – The AuSable Township Board of Trustees met on Monday, May 20, and received a presentation from Iosco County Commissioner Terry Dutcher, Operations Manager for Iosco County EMS and Arenac/Iosco Mobile Medical Response (MMR) Scott Kernicki and Director of Iosco County Central Dispatch Mike Eller about the response times of the county. Dutcher addressed the board stating that there has been some concern about response times that have been discussed in the past. His goal was to address those with the board.
“The response times that they’ve come up with are pretty good times eight, nine 10, 11 minutes average for P1 calls,” said Dutcher.
He stated that one response time; however, was shown to be 58 minutes. Kernicki said that in this specific case after investigation it was found to be a staged call. This means emergency responders won’t appear on scene until the police clear them to come showing a much larger response time than the average.
“I read this article in the newspaper that specifically stated that Oscoda Township is looking into contracting with Alcona County and that AuSable Township was on board with that,” said Dutcher.
“It doesn’t say that in the paper that would be hearsay. Our board has been evaluating all scenarios,” said Supervisor Kevin Beliveau.
“When you say that we’re on board with whatever Oscoda is going to do, that is not a true statement,” said Beliveau. “We’re on board with whatever can serve our residents the best.”
Beliveau said that himself along with Superintendent Leisa Sutton and others have attended a number of meetings where the topic of response times has been discussed.
“Everyone involved has been very gracious in providing the information that we’re asking for, doing investigations on cases for responses that we were asking for,” said Beliveau. “We’re not questioning those results we believe they are accurate.”
He responded to Dutcher’s concern stating that the township’s concern is what the coverage will be like for AuSable after the Oscoda Area First Responders close their doors in October.
“The findings that are reported in AuSable appear to be very satisfactory, better than national standards by quite a margin, but some of the other townships in the county can’t say the same,” said Beliveau.
Beliveau also said the township’s other concern is if Oscoda Township decides to contract with Alcona County, what effect will that have on AuSable Township? Kernicki responded by thanking the township for their support and introducing them with a list of response times. He presented each board member with the response times from January to April of this year. He said they were all county wide priority one calls averaging around 10 minutes.
“There is not a problem with response times county wide. Period. There’s not. We have the data there to show you, there are some on there that are 15, 16, 20 minutes,” said Kernicki. “We’re not hiding from those. This is a difficult county to geographically navigate. Some of those its just going to take a long time to get to.”
He followed up stating that they’ve never received a single complaint from any customer about response times.
Dutcher said that another thing that the larger response times can be attributed to are transfers.
“A transfer is a service that is provided for a client that needs to go from point a to point b and it happens to be from one hospital to another,” said Dutcher.
Overall, the board stated they were satisfied with the counties emergency services. Beliveau along with the board requested that emergency personnel return with documentation proving that their level of service wouldn’t change after the demise of Oscoda Area First Responders. They agreed to supply the requested information and return to a future meeting.