CAMBRIDGE — A former director of the county’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) reached out to the Dorchester Banner last week, to offer his views and recollections of the job. Michael Faith was hired as director in 2012, a post he occupied for six months.
Arriving with 25 years of experience on the western shore, he began submitting suggestions for improvements, but says he didn’t get far. “I assessed their problems, created a plan, and they didn’t want to change,” Mr. Faith said.
He acknowledged, though that progress has been made in the following years.
“It’s been consistent since then,” Mr. Faith said. “It’s been consistent with what most of the counties developed.”
Among his suggestions were to place a lieutenant or supervisor on every shift, something that was implemented. He also asked to reallocate resources, so that vehicles and personnel would be distributed equitably throughout the county.
That, he said, didn’t get a favorable reception, largely because rent is paid by ambulances to the fire companies where they are based. “No volunteer fire station wants to lose that rent,” Mr. Faith said. Currently, EMS pays rent to the fire companies of Hurlock, Brookview, Madison and Cambridge.
He was aided in his navigation of government by then-County Manager Jane Baynard. “She was a great person, and provided a lot of insight into small-town politics,” Mr. Faith said.
Another of his ideas was to upgrade the 911 Center. “The organization has progressed,” he said.
Staffing was an issue during his term. Mr. Faith suggested that paramedics be paid more, to avoid the loss of individuals and the resulting overtime for those remaining. “The challenge,” he said, “is, once you get them, how do you keep them?”
While it is standard practice in the field to extend shifts by 12 hours to cover the schedule, when there is little or no extra staff present, adjustments are difficult. “If somebody calls out, it’s unlikely I can change my plan,” he said.
He noted that any time there is a leadership change, staff can change as well. His suggestion is to hire a local person to lead Emergency Medical Services.
“You know what, guys, you really should hire a home-town hero, someone who will put up with your stuff and stick around,” Mr. Faith said.
He had praise and support for the crews now on duty in Dorchester County.
“It’s a very highly committed group of individuals,’ he said. “Don’t beat up on the people trying to provide the service.”