Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

Opinion

April 3, 2014

Narcan a win for the town â€" and the fire chief

(Continued)

But selectmen and other officials say that the cost of training personnel and maintaining such a service is too costly. Some say there would be no appreciable increase in revenue. Others say that there is no reason for local paramedics to take on ALS when Lawrence General Hospital staff can handle the work.

The problem is, however, waiting for LGH crews to arrive increases valuable time needed to save lives. Further, there are times when LGH crews are too busy on other calls and can’t even make it to Andover. Now that the hospital has taken over as the city of Lawrence’s ambulance service, a contract they won from Patriot Ambulance, they are going to be even busier.

During a recent budget hearing, just as Mansfield was making his pitch to selectmen again this year for ALS, Denise Palumbo, executive vice president of Lawrence General Hospital, announced that the hospital had purchased a new ambulance that will “ensure enhanced coverage for the town and redundancy when there are competing calls for service.”

Mansfield’s request to retrofit two ambulances with ALS was killed once again.

Mansfield faces another issue — with the Ballardvale fire station. For years, fire officials have been trying to get the town to build a new station in Ballardvale, saying the old station is outdated and in some instances unsafe. This week, during a Monday night budget session, selectmen Chairman Alex Vispoli asked if it might be better just to spend a half-million dollars to patch up the old station as a way to delay building a costly new one.

The idea did not sit well with Mansfield.

“What I’m hearing is that we’ll throw in $500,000 and in five years this project will be no closer,” he said. “There will be other projects that will slide ahead of it and there will always be reasons why this station never gets the attention it deserves from these government bodies.”

It remains to be seen what will happen with the Ballardvale station or Advanced Life Support in the future, but at least Mansfield has one win in his pocket this week with Narcan — and the residents and taxpayers of Andover are better off for it.

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