News : City Bolts CMED Emergency Call Center
Derby, CT, August 1, 2014 -- The Derby Board of Aldermen voted to sever ties with CMED-New Haven, and will begin negotiations with a Prospect-based communications outfit to handle its fire and emergency dispatch calls.
The board, during its July 24 meeting, unanimously voted to withdraw from CMED, which has drastically scaled back its services to the 18 towns it serves.
"The city will withdraw from CMED-New Haven as a result of CMED-New Haven not being able to provide services required (for Derby), effective Sept. 15," said Aldermanic President Barbara DeGennaro.
The aldermen also authorized Mayor Anita Dugatto to sign any pertinent documents and paperwork to "effectuate the withdrawal" from CMED.
Fire Chief Tom Lenart said the split was the best option for Derby at this point, especially since the embattled organization has been struggling with layoffs for the past few months.
"With all of CMED’s turmoil, it’s better for us to move elsewhere," Lenart said.
Fire Commissioner Mike Kelleher assured residents that "there will no disruption in 911 service" during the transition from one dispatch company to another.
Lenart, Kelleher and the aldermen are slated to hold a joint meeting Aug. 12 to discuss the split from CMED, and begin negotiations with Northwest Connecticut Public Safety, a communications center in Prospect, that serves 22 towns and cities in the Central Naugatuck Valley and Housatonic Valley region. According to its website, Northwest provides coordinated ambulance communications to five area hospitals, and works closely with local EMS providers and staff of local hospital emergency departments to enhance patient care.
Northwest also serves nine communities with 911 service, and has done so for nearly 30 years. When it first began in 1975, the company handled approximately 12,000 calls for assistance, which has grown to more than 100,000 calls per year.
CMED recently cut back on the services it provides for the 18 towns it served. Its board of directors set a deadline of Oct. 15 that the service will no longer provide dispatch services to ‘non-core services,’ and those towns, locally, include Ansonia, Derby and Shelton. CMED previously had four dispatchers manning its daytime shift, four dispatchers on the night shift, and two dispatchers on the overnight shift. But all that remains now are two CMED dispatchers to cover all shifts, leaving the members to look elsewhere for dispatching service.
CMED South Central, a system in place since 1977, exists to connect emergency medical personnel to ambulance companies and area hospitals for an 18-town area stretching from Milford and the lower Naugatuck Valley in the west to Madison in the east and Meriden in the north.
The CMED board also came up with a schedule for additional fees for the four communities — Bethany, Ansonia, Derby and Shelton — that require dispatching services beyond the three core services most communities want.
Those three core services are medical "patching" to connect accident scenes to hospitals, mutual aid and mass casualty coordination.
New Haven, West Haven, Hamden and North Branford all have threatened to pull out, and the legislative bodies in New Haven, West Haven and North Branford have voted to do so. New Haven remains a member under a one-month agreement.
At a meeting in North Haven last week, CMED officials began taking steps to right the struggling organization, including voting in new members to its executive board, establishing an acting director and discussing the possibility of bringing back one of its laid-off employees.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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