Silver Lake Village seeks cooperation between fire, rescue agencies


By Gail Peckler-Dziki


      Silver Lake Village President Bruce Nopenz has opened a discussion about what he sees as a lack of cooperation between the Silver Lake Rescue Squad, a private organization, and the village’s fire department.

Trustee Pat Dunn, a professional fire inspector and chairman of the Public Protection and Emergency Services Committee, stated that when the village brought directives to the rescue squad, the group refused to follow them.

“Our attorney and our medical director said they were illegal,” explained former trustee and current rescue squad member Sabrina Moran, “and that we don’t have to follow them.”

Nopenz pointed out that the rescue squad is a private organization under contract to the village. “You have to handle things the way we tell you to do so,” he said.

One directive the rescue squad has balked at for a long time is accepting the Silver Lake fire chief as incident commander.

Another issue is that rescue squad and fire department don’t have the same medical director. The medical director is a doctor from the hospital with which each organization works.

The rescue squad used to be under Humana but changed to Aurora. The fire department is still under Humana.

Moran claimed the rescue squad did not receive good training form Humana.

Dunn pointed out that while Humana directives are very specific, those that Aurora has are not. Yet all must adhere to state standards.

Nopenz commented that both organizations have adult members who will not “play nice in the sandbox.”

He also stated the village is liable for the behavior of both organizations.

“If you can’t work together,” Nopenz said, “we will have to find another solution.”

In a later telephone interview, Dunn said, “I work with many fire inspectors who are members of fire departments and rescue squads from all over. To a man, each has told me that the fire chief is always the incident command.”

“Rescue is responsible for patient care,” he continued, “but there is much more involved. If there is a car accident, the incident command would look for other issues like downed electrical lines, gasoline flowing from a vehicle and traffic control.”

The other trustees on the Public Protection and Emergency Services Committee are Carolyn Dodge, who is a member of rescue squad, and Doug Randolph, who was on the ski patrol at Wilmot Mountain and another location for 10 years, and served on Salem Rescue for 10 months about 15 years ago.


1 Comment

  1. Pete says:

    Thank you Bruce for cleaning up the mess. Keep up the great work. The silent majority is behind you.

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