Rockwood first responders change call response

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By Cindy Simpson

Rockwood Fire Department wanted a solution to its call outs for lifting and non-emergency calls.
The department got its answer in regards to what emergency and lift assistance calls it would go to at Rockwood City Council’s meeting last month. First, the Rockwood City Council passed a resolution limiting the first responder calls to priority one calls only. Priority one calls are serious.
“Basically what it says is the fire department is going to respond to priority one calls only. They are not going to respond to priority two calls unless a medic unit requests, because that turns it into a priority one. It says that the fire department is not going to leave a prior call to respond to a subsequent call until the prior call is finished, and it says that the fire department has the authority to determine what resources to deploy to any particular call,” said city attorney Greg Leffew.
The resolution gives the city instruction to contact 911 if the department has all resources involved in call responses and cannot respond to a new call.   
Five different resolutions dealing with lift assistance were suggested last month as well, with the city council making a selection of one of those for first reading.
“At the workshop you held the fire department representative talked about how the fire department is called out to help people who can’t get up to raise them up, and they reported they get called out to residences and they get called out to medical facilities, nursing homes and assisted living facilities. And you talked about several different types of policies to enact, and I tried to write out each that we discussed to try and give you an option,” Leffew said.  
The one selected was to respond to private residences only. The Rockwood Fire Department will acknowledge requests for lift assistance at medical facilities like assisted livings and nursing homes but not respond.
Council members all agreed that the city needed to continue serving its residents, but they pondered why a for profit entity would need their assistance when they are staffed.
Councilman Jason Jolly asked about how the city can eliminate abuse of the program as well among some residential callers.
City Recorder Becky Ruppe said she was advised to have the fire department keep a log and address the issue again if it’s a problem.