WILTON (CBS13) — A petition is circulating in the town of Wilton concerning the addition of paramedics.
The local fire district doesn’t have any on staff, so when they are needed, they come from nearby districts.
It’s an issue that is sparking a lot of debate and confusion.
Betsy Hite has lived in Wilton for more than 10 years. Four years ago her husband had two massive heart attacks. She says the local fire department was there in 4 minutes.
“They started life-saving procedures within four minutes after that another rig pulled up with staff,” she said.
That rig included paramedics. Both medical crews saved her husband’s life. She says her rural fire department doesn’t have full-time paramedics but when a resident calls 911, “that automatically triggers both Wilton Fire who has life-saving apparatus on their vehicle but also triggers a call to paramedics in one of the surrounding areas, all of which are close by.”
She says paramedic help is less than 10 minutes away.
“In the case of life and death those minutes and seconds count for a lot, says Eugene Rose. A longtime Wilton resident, he’s started a petition calling for paramedics to be hired at the Wilton Fire Protection District.
He’s spent more than $1,000 making flyers after he says local authorities wouldn’t listen to him.
“I don’t know if the community is aware of the fact that they no longer have medical services, and if they’re aware of that fact if they’re supportive of us getting that service back.”
A Wilton Fire District spokesperson tells CBS13 the system currently in place works well with EMTs and firefighters sent by the local district and paramedics from nearby districts in addition when a call warrants it.
The spokesperson also says hiring full-time paramedics would be cost-prohibitive for this rural district.
Hite says it’s a cost residents shouldn’t have to pay since the system in place is working with no reported cases that have caused concern.
“I’ve not heard of an incident where someone has died, or a life has been in jeopardy because our system doesn’t work,” she said.
Even though Rose has received a few hundred signatures on his petition, he says he will continue his efforts.
“They probably think that this is one crazy old guy here and will just ignore him he’ll go away,” he said.
The district says it’s working on a plan to someday have paramedics in Wilton, but that it’s not uncommon for rural districts to work this way.
The community will be able to hear more about the issue at a Wilton Fire Protection District Board of Directors meeting November 15 at 7 p.m.