Ho-Ho-Kus September 16, 2009 THE VILLADOM TIMES III • Page 3 Corps eyes reimbursement, seeks new members by Jennifer Crusco Ho-Ho-Kus Ambulance Corps President Carol Tyler told the borough council last week that the borough might have to begin charging for services the volunteer organization provides to other towns. Addressing the council at last week’s work session (rescheduled from Sept. 15), Tyler noted that the mutual aid agreement among local municipalities’ ambulance corps is unwritten. She said some other municipalities are “abusing” the mutual aid system, and recommended that the borough follow through on an earlier recommendation to charge for service provided to other towns. “We now have nine members,” Tyler told the council. Councilman Kevin Crossley added, “That’s significantly less than other towns. We need volunteers, and we must do something about the current situation.” “Is that as low as you’ve gotten?” Councilman Lee Flemming asked Tyler. She responded in the affirmative, adding “We do have a definite problem, and we must make others aware.” She said Valley Hospital fields multiple ambulance rigs, but said service from the hospital is not always available. “They pick and choose where they’re going, making decisions based on where they will get more money (by billing the patient’s insurance company).” Tyler added, “I think the volunteer ambulance corps can handle Ho-Ho-Kus, but there is a problem with mutual aid. We can cover our own town nicely.” She added that approximately 30 percent of the organization’s calls come from out of town. Tyler urged the council, “Decide if you’ll charge, and what you’ll charge.” Councilman Crossley added that the mutual aid issue is a serious problem. “We can carry the town,” he said, agreeing with Tyler’s assessment of the situation. He said the problem is serving other municipalities, adding that the members of the corps, whom he characterized as dedicated volunteers, are getting exhausted. “We’ll have to talk about what the next step is,” Crossley added. Commenting on daytime emergencies, Mayor Thomas Randall noted, “Our daytime responders (who are borough employees) clock out.” He said the calls take a toll on local productivity at borough hall. Randall also called for a more equal relationship in terms of mutual aid. Councilman Flemming asked what exposure the borough might face if the ambulance corps refused to respond to calls from other towns. “We try to adhere (to the unwritten mutual aid agreement) and reciprocate with towns that help us,” Mayor Randall said. Tyler noted, “It’s the moral commitment that makes us go (on out-of-town calls).” Crossley added that the next step should be to set up a meeting of local officials and determine the direction that should be taken. He also put out a call for volunteers. Tyler told Villadom TIMES that anyone interested in learning more about becoming an ambulance corps member should leave a message for her in care of Christine Tyler at Ho-Ho-Kus Borough Hall, (201) 652-4400. In November of 2002, borough voters approved the plan known as VIP: the volunteer incentive program. The program covers firefighters and ambulance corps personnel. VIP provides an annual stipend account for each active volunteer member who meets the eligibility criteria. To qualify for the program, each volunteer is required to earn points, which may be accrued in various ways, including responding to calls, successfully completing related training or certification, and by participating in drills and other special events. Borough volunteers successfully lobbied for the incentive program, rather than a length of service awards program, asserting that the incentive program would assist local emergency workers in recruiting and retaining active members. Improve Your Driveway’s Appearance And Protect It At The Same Time Driveway E-Z Stir Asphalt Filler/Sealer • Easy to stir • Fills surface cracks up to 1/8” • Dries to touch in 4 hours. Can be driven on in 24-48 hours under normal conditions • 4 year warranty Mon-Wed 7:30-6 Thurs & Fri 7:30-8, Sat 8-5 Put On A Winter Coat Today! OPEN SUNDAY 9-3 Propane Filled 7 Days A Week 27 Franklin Tpke. • Waldwick • 201-652-5666 www.homehardwaresupply.com ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������������������������� �������������������������������������������������������������� ������������������������������������������������ ����������������������������������������������������������� �������������������