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Sunday, May 19, 2024

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Business Administrator Addresses Fire, EMS Complaints

By Camille Sailer

SEA ISLE CITY – At the Sea Isle City Council meeting Oct. 22, Business Administrator George Savastano reacted to resident complaints and related press coverage, including claims that city administration does not speak with one voice, and frequently gives no response when serious concerns arise. “The press gets it wrong, and the public is ill-informed about basic facts,” said Savastano.
He cited two issues, in particular, as to accuracy: the pattern of how firefighters respond to fires and how the city’s emergency medical services (EMS) handle urgent calls.
“With reference to fire department response times, we are working very closely with our firefighters and leadership, and how these fires were handled was done by the book,” said Savastano. “Our department is proactive, not reactive, and the press should get it right rather than engaging in yellow journalism and publishing what are not facts. It’s a disservice to hard-working public employees.
“For example, the belief that fire trucks can’t respond to a blaze before a police unit is sent to and arrives at the address is totally inaccurate. Frequently, police arrive about the same time as our firefighters, and all are there to help,” continued Savastano.
Regarding EMS, resident Barbara Crowley, during the Sept. 24 council meeting, said that unreasonable delays were made getting her husband, Michael Crowley, to medical care for what they suspected was a second heart attack, which turned out to be a health scare.
“They had us wait 15 minutes to do a cardiogram at a Garden State Parkway rest stop, when Shore Memorial was only 15 minutes away,” she said (using the hospital’s former name, now Shore Medical Center). She also found fault that EMS personnel did not rush to the hospital at high speed, or use the sirens and emergency lights on the ambulance. She demanded an investigation as to what had transpired.
According to a report by Police Chief Thomas McQuillen, who supervises the city’s public safety operations, EMS members followed all applicable policies and procedures in helping Michael Crowley.
Savastano praised how the EMS team handled the Crowleys’ call. “We did things exactly the way they’re supposed to be done, by the book,” said Savastano. 
The municipality created a city-run EMS in 2017 to take over ambulance and rescue services after the squad, composed of long-serving volunteers, ran into difficulties attracting enough members to provide 24-hour services. 
Savastano was contacted for additional comments, but none were given.
To contact Camille Sailer, email csailer@cmcherald.com.

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