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EMS services suspended in Rumford due to coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak

EMS services that cease to respond to calls because of coronavirus fears, may be referred to the Board EMS Investigation Committee.

RUMFORD, Maine — "Rumford officials reportedly suspended the town's emergency medical services (EMS) without giving the proper notice to the community and the state's licensing agency," according to the Sun Journal.

The Maine EMS website states that due to the coronavirus pandemic some revised plans resulting in fewer calls being responded to maybe reviewed but that plans to eliminate all responses would not be considered.

"EMS services that elect to cease responses to calls will be construed as surrendering their EMS license to operate in the State of Maine," according to the Maine EMS site.

Failure to give the proper 30-day notice to Maine EMS and the community may be referred to the Maine EMS Board Investigation Committee. After reviewing all aspects of the situation, the Board makes the final decision and has the authority to revoke a license and bring disciplinary action and/or a fine.

"Maine EMS Director Sam Hurley said on March 27 that his office received notification Monday from Rumford officials that they had a week earlier — on March 16 — voted to order their town’s Fire Department to stop responding to EMS emergencies," the Sun Journal reported.

“That was the first time they had officially notified us that they were not responding to emergencies,” Hurley told the Sun Journal.

The town of Rumford has ten full-time employees. Rumford Fire Chief Chris Reed told the Sun Journal the "loss of any would have a huge impact."

Due to this pandemic towns have had to review and revise their protocol in order to keep first responders safe while still providing necessary services to the community.

"Rumford Fire Chief, Chris Reed recommended to the town's Board of Selectman that his department terminate emergency medical services during the pandemic to prevent firefighter exposure to the virus," the Sun Journal wrote. "Exceptions would be for calls involving trauma and immediate life-threatening incidents."

The Board voted to approve this motion.

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