New London Township supervisor Bob Barto made a good point when he stressed the importance of municipalities supporting emergency services.
At a reunion in the township building last month that included heart attack survivor Linda Jacobi and the emergency responders who saved her life on Oct. 28, Mr. Barto spoke in favor of continuing to fund the fire company, the ambulance service and Southern Chester County Emergency Medical Services (Medic 94).
He, like many other municipal officials, is faced with cobbling an annual budget that will keep the township on track, its roads in good repair and its citizens reasonably safe -- all this in the face of diminishing income from reduced home sales, lower state subsidies and a generally depressed economy.
He made several points.
His first was that he is proud that New London continues to support the emergency responders.
His second point was that some municipalities don't give as much as they might.
The third point was probably the most insightful. Mr. Barto said that there are some things that can be put off or cut down on to save money. Perhaps road repairs and buying new vehicles can wait another year or continue in a reduced state.
But when a person is in cardiac arrest, there isn't another year. "When we lose people, we're done," he said.
He added that giving support for emergency responders is "cheap insurance."
We agree and applaud any municipality that ponies up its resources to keep the fire company, the ambulance crew and the EMTs well-equipped.
But we also realize that there are lean years, during which residents can afford to pay only so much in taxes. This past year has been one of those years.
That is why we suggest some life-saving measures that can be applied at very little cost.
-Permitting township and borough workers to join the fire company and respond to emergencies without having their pay docked is not only good sense, but it assures that people who are nearby and are inclined to help put out fires or administer first aid are not penalized for it.
-Another useful action is creating and advocating for a spirit of safety awareness. Fire Prevention Week is a time when the firefighters visit schools and institutions to talk about fire detectors and how to respond to fire emergencies. Using this knowledge, young people grow up with the awareness of actions to take that will avoid emergency situations in the first place.
-Benevolent giving is another venue. We have seen people or organizations with a yen to donate something for the good of the population provide AEDs or automatic external defibrillators. The more of these little heart-starting machines that are around, the more lives that will be saved.
-CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation has also saved many lives. With some basic instruction, most people can exercise their ability to come to the aid of a person whose heart is stopped. Schools, clubs and churches can go along way toward helping to save lives by offering their members these courses.
In conclusion, we congratulate Medic 94 CEO Bob Hotchkiss and the paid and unpaid responders who support him for the Jacobi save and others. They have made Southern Chester County a safer place to live, and they deserve our support.