Fire Chief Blames Communication Break-Down For Lengthy Response Time For Child Trapped In Wreck

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A child trapped in a crashed car in need of emergency help had to wait nearly 12 minutes for a medic when the closest one was just three minutes away.

A central Ohio fire chief said that he blames a break-down in communication for the lengthy response time.

On Dec. 30, Columbus Division of Police officials called Washington Township fire officials asking for a township medic vehicle to respond to a crash at Sawmill and Hard roads.

According to the radio transmission, Washington Township officials said that they do not loan Columbus medics but could send a fire engine instead.

Washington Township Fire Chief Allan Woo said that his department does not swap medics with the Columbus Division of Fire, because the City of Columbus bills patients for EMS services and Washington Township does not.

“It was a communication break-down,” Woo said. “If we should need help, and we would call the City of Columbus, they would come in and bill our residents. We felt that was unfair.”

Woo said that his department never would refuse to respond to a critical or life-threatening injury, though.

“It was never communicated to us that there was a critical patient needing transport,” Woo said. “They requested a medic for an accident at Sawmill and Hard roads.”

Deputy Chief Karry Ellis with the Columbus Division of Fire said that his first responders asking for help should not have to give an explanation.

He said that his department never withholds resources.

Woo said that in the past two years, medics have taken 15 runs in the City of Columbus for critical or life-threatening incidents, including delivering a baby and an attempted suicide.

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