Government

West Orange Fire Department to Assume Emergency Medical Service Duties

dde290d2d1a55d17777c_IMAG2644.jpg
Credits: Chris Harewood
a651911e03ec0e9e1507_IMAG2646.jpg
Credits: Chris Harewood
dde290d2d1a55d17777c_IMAG2644.jpg

WEST ORANGE, NJ - An impassionate crowd attended Tuesday’s West Orange Township Council meeting to express their opinions on a resolution regarding the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) organization that was up for a vote.

At the meeting, the council passed a resolution to remove the EMS group from performing duties under the First Aid Squad and for them to instead fall under the auspices of the West Orange Fire Department (WOFS)  in a 2-1 vote, with Councilman Joe Krakoviak voting no and Councilwoman Patty Spango removing herself from the process because of her son’s involvement with the West Orange First Aid Squad. Councilman Victor Cirilo was absent from the meeting.

Members of the WOFAS, who said they have provided services to the township for decades, were not pleased with the decision and vouched for their contributions till the very end.

Sign Up for E-News

“We’re done fighting,” said James Troisi, president of the First Aid Squad. “We’ve been here for fifty-one years. People know who we are, people know what we do. The residents of the township certainly appreciate us.” 

The resolution stems from a situation that began approximately two years ago when the council learned that the WOFAS was billing for services without the authorization of the council. The council was advised by the Office of the Attorney General that the billing process should legally go out for local contract public bid. However, the WOFAS was advised by legal counsel to refrain from submitting a bid.

In a previous article that ran in TAP, Councilwoman Susan McCartney said, "This is not a matter of using one instead of the other; it is a matter of who is able to respond first to an emergency."

The West Orange Fire Department was taking many of the calls because WOFAS was not able to provide coverage at times as a volunteer organization. To be able to increase coverage, WOFAS needed to hire a staff, and to do so, it needed to start billing for services.

In the previous TAP article, Guarino said, "WOFAS is not a totally volunteer squad. They have to have paid coverage. However, they have chosen not to participate in the RFP [Request for Proposal] as requested."

In the same previous article, Councilman Victor Cirilo summed up his thoughts by saying, "The local public contracts law provides the guidelines for public contracting. I hope that WOFAS thoroughly participates in this process in order to safeguard this institutional service. The importance of the squad to our community cannot be understated.”

Before the resolution was passed on Tuesday night, Troisi said he wanted to know what the “grand plan” would be for the volunteers who serve the community if and when it was passed.

“We want to know, for the record, where do we go from here,” he asked?

Other residents expressed their dissatisfaction toward what they said felt like the end of an era.

“It appears as if the township would only allow the West Orange Fire Department to provide EMS service,” said one woman. “Residents think that’s a huge mistake.”

One member of the FAS went as far as to say it felt like their “throats were being cut.”

McCartney highlighted that the intent of the council wasn’t to shut down the FAS, but rather to ensure the township was operating lawfully.

“The fact is, the First Aid Squad was billing,” she said. “And to bill you need to bid,” which is something the FAS was unwilling to do according to the council and WAFS president. “We’re not trying to close down the FAS. What we’re saying is you’re not supposed to be billing, and that is what we are trying to cease.”

“We are not telling volunteers they can’t be there anymore,” said Mayor Robert Parisi, who acknowledged that coming to this decision took many months of debate and was difficult. “We encourage that. They just now would work under the direction of the Fire Department and not the First Aid Squad.”

“I don’t want to be cold or callous, but I want to be perfectly clear to all residents,” Parisi said. “If volunteer members respond to a call, they are billing.”  Parisi said the WOAFS does not have a right to do that under law, and so “we’re going to put a stop to it.”

The council said it feels that with the volunteers working under the Fire Department (FD) they could now focus on volunteering and will no longer feel the need to bill. 

“Your services are still very valuable, and I’m sure the FD would make you feel very welcome,” said Council President Jerry Guarino.

Though some members of the crowd shook their heads in disappointment and laughed mockingly at the idea of partnering with the FD, before the resolution was passed, Guarino told residents that “whatever happens, don’t walk of this room and turn your back on your community. What we’re asking is for you to work with our Fire Department.”  

In other news, the Downtown Alliance Street Fair, which happened on Saturday was discussed.

“There were a lot more people than last year,” Guarino said.

He then thanked the Downtown Alliance and West Orange Chamber of Commerce for their hard work.

“Vendors were happy with the public’s interests and the sales,” he said. “It was a very productive day overall.”

In addition, McCartney spoke about a social networking event scheduled for July 15, at 5:30 pm, at the Essex House, where residents will be able to introduce themselves, their businesses, and any projects they are working on.

Also discussed was letter to Parisi received from a fourth grader who was seeking to have a day dedicated to Tourette Syndrome (TS).

“I have TS,” he wrote. “Sometimes it makes me flinch or make noises.”

He shared that TS awareness means people will learn about it and help kids who might also have TS.

Parisi said he was moved by the letter and announced that June 4 would officially be Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day, citing that being knowledgeable about TS would lead to compassion and understanding.

The next Town Council meeting is scheduled for June 23 at 6:30 p.m. Residents are welcome to attend.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

West Orange

One Free Class at Cycle Bar Livingston

April 23, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Get a free ride at Cycle Bar Livingston. Livingston’s premium indoor cycling facility invites the public to sign up for their first ride free.

Click HERE to see the full class schedule.

During this week only, Cycle Bar is also participating in the Livingston Fitness Crawl, offering five days of free classes through Friday.  

Cycle Bar ...

Livingston Fitness Crawl: Five Days of Free Classes at 12 Livingston Businesses

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The public is invited to enjoy one free class at as many of Livingston’s fitness businesses as they would like during this week’s Livingston Fitness Crawl, a Livingston Business Improvement District event, beginning on April 23 and continuing through April 27.

For five days, no purchase is necessary at the following locations:

BARRE3 ...

Full Pet Grooming Service 25% OFF

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Cloud Canine Grooming Salon & Spa in Little Falls is open for business and owner and pet stylist Melissa DiRoma is offering 25% off a FULL GROOMING SERVICE for all new customers. Call (973) 837-8884 or visit http://cloudcaninesalon.com to schedule your appointment. Mention promo code TAP DOG for discount. 

About Cloud ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Swimming
Camp
Childcare 
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

Women Need Better Treatment Behind Bars, Lawmakers Say

April 24, 2018

NEWARK, NJ - Middlesex County Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez and U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) held a roundtable discussion on Monday with criminal justice reform advocates and formally incarcerated women to discuss legislation Lopez and Assemblywoman Valerie Vainieri Huttle are introducing, modeled after legislation Booker introduced in the Senate, to reform the way women are treated behind ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_ef0d6423aefa47ca7bd5_screen_shot_2018-03-16_at_4.56.35_pm

Thu, April 26, 5:30 PM

West Orange High School - Cafeteria, West Orange

Annual Spaghetti Dinner

Food & Drink

Sun, April 29, 3:30 PM

Codey Arena, West Orange

Girls Try Hockey Free Clinic

Sports

Letter to the Editor: Lions Club of West Orange Spaghetti Dinner

April 16, 2018

Dear Editor,

Since 1953, the Lions Club of West Orange has been recognized throughout the township for our service to the blind and visually impaired. A majority of the world’s eye banks, clinics, and eye research centers are established and supported by all Lions Clubs throughout the world.

We are men and women committed to helping provide quality eye care, eye ...

Register for the New Senior Gardening Program in West Orange

April 25, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — West Orange residents 60 years or older are invited to register for a new gardening program at the Orange/West Orange UNICO Chapter Nicholas Vecchio Garden in Degnan Park.

Beginning on May 10 and continuing every Thursday afternoon, seniors will be able to prep, plant and harvest their own garden beds.

For more information or to register for this new program, ...

Lock Down Initiated After Stray Bullet Found at Morristown High School

April 24, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ -  Morristown High School was on a school-wide lock down as of 1 p.m. on Tuesday after a stray bullet was discovered on the athletic fields of the school. 

Police were on the scene and currently investigating the incident. The school initiated a "shelter in place," which means instruction continued as students stayed in their ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.

 

Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse

By LIZ KEILL

MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...