Emergency Turf War


Which one would you pick for a heart attack?

As if we didn’t have enough to think about, we now have the Stratford Fire Department trying to eliminate Stratford EMS. Rather than have a volunteer medical service that is actually profitable, SFD would like to incorporate the entire thing into a Town funded organization. Many of the arguments made by Lt. Kevin Lantowsky are somewhat irrelevant and outdated. Response times at Stratford EMS have improved exponentially and staffing is at all time highs. It is rare that mutual aid is called upon. Particularly annoying is the statement that “about a half dozen” are medical response technicians, 80 are emergency medical technicians, about 10 are paramedics, and several, including him, are trained as paramedics and “could start tomorrow.”. If that is actually the case all 96 of them could simply walk next door and volunteer their time the way all of the current EMS volunteers do. They don’t do that because they won’t get paid for it.

Lt. Lantkowsky also does not mention that as designated first responders, the Fire Department is required to respond to all non-police 911 calls. He doesn’t mentioned that many times Stratford EMS ambulances must wait for the fire truck to pull out before they can go.

Study: ‘Critical and vital’ care not getting to residents

Written by John Kovach
Monday, 26 March 2012 00:00
A study recently presented to Town Council members contends that “critical and vital” advanced life support (ALS) care is being denied to town residents even though Stratford firefighters are currently trained and certified to provide such care.
The analysis of the Stratford EMS system, prepared for Local 998 and the town by the Ludwig Group LLC of Hillsboro, Mo., examines the delivery of emergency medical services in town, not solely the operations of Stratford EMS.
Privately, some town officials have questioned the impartiality of a study conducted by a union that concludes that its members should have a larger role in the system, with the union and town still in negotiations over a new contract.
Marc Dillon, chief of staff for Mayor John A. Harkins, declined comment, citing pending negotiations.
According to the Ludwig Group, some town officials would not participate in the survey, and the firm had to file a Freedom of Information request to get data it needed.
But firefighters say privately and in the study that they would forgo compensation in exchange for being allowed to perform medical procedures some are already certified to do.
“At this time, none of the firefighters in Stratford interviewed for the study felt it was important to pay them extra for extra performance of their duties. The goal of the Stratford firefighters is to increase the level of care in the community,” according to the Ludwig Group.
“It’s something that we’ve been trying to push for 20 years,” said Lt. Kevin Lantowsky, who chaired the committee that oversaw the study. “It has nothing to do with negotiations. It’s something that’s always brought up at negotiations, but it’s brought up at other times also.”
Lantowsky was scheduled to discuss the study with the Town Council Public Safety Committee Tuesday night, March 20.
The Stratford Fire Department is already the first responder to medical calls in town, and more than 80% of its total responses are medical in nature. But the department is certified to respond only at the basic life support level, meaning that members who are certified to provide advanced life support at the paramedic level may not do so, for lack of authorization and, because of that, lack of the proper equipment.
The study recommends making Stratford Fire an ALS provider, and allowing, at least at first, firefighters who are paramedics to perform those duties when required.
Graphic examples of firefighters handcuffed by lack of equipment or the authorization to deliver advanced care are included in the report.
In one case, an 8-month-old swallowed a small rubber ball, obstructing the airway. A firefighter at the scene was a paramedic and could have used forceps to remove the ball, but that tool is used for advanced life support and could not be carried by the department. With no Stratford ambulance available, mutual aid was called. Because that ambulance was making a long drive, and the firefighter did not have a tool he was trained to use, the child was taken to the hospital in a police car, and his life was saved there.
Interviews with firefighters included in the study also detail firefighters waiting 20 minutes for an ambulance while a man had a heart attack at Our Lady of Peace Church. While some firefighters could have done more, rules limited them to only taking vital signs and giving the man oxygen.
Two cases tell of people dying in the presence of firefighters awaiting out-of-town ambulances authorized to give the same care some firefighters are trained to provide.
Lantowsky said that of some 100 firefighters, “about a half dozen” are medical response technicians, 80 are emergency medical technicians, about 10 are paramedics, and several, including him, are trained as paramedics and “could start tomorrow.”
“I took and passed the program, have the college credit for it, but never worked as an active medic,” Lantowsky said. “I had no place to ever use it.”
He and others have passed all the classes and have approval from local hospitals to practice.
“We don’t need one at every house,” Lantowsky said of paramedics. “You could have one or two on each shift now. You don’t necessarily need four.”
The study recommends increasing the ranks of paramedics in the department by hiring either firefighters also trained as paramedics, or paramedics who can be trained as firefighters.
The first step, according to the study, would be obtaining the proper license from the state.
The Ludwig study examined care from the making of a 911 call to transport of a patient to the hospital, and recommended integrating the actions of the Fire Department and Stratford EMS.
Citing the high volume of medical responses, the Ludwig Group recommended that an assistant fire chief be given full-time responsibility for medical calls.
The study also compares response times for firefighters, who respond from four stations around Stratford, and Stratford EMS, which sends ambulances from its headquarters on Main Street next to the firehouse and, as of 2011, from the Oronoque fire station.
Data in the Ludwig Group report shows response times ranging from 5.4 minutes from headquarters, at 2750 Main Street, to a high of 5.9 minutes from Station 4 on Oronoque Lane.
Often, according to studies by both the Ludwig Group and CBG Strategies, Stratford EMS does not have an ambulance ready to respond, requiring mutual aid from a private company such as American Medical Response. A table in the Ludwig reports lists wait times for mutual aid ambulances when a Stratford unit is not available; in one case it takes 59 minutes for the ambulance to arrive.
According to the Ludwig Group, Stratford EMS was unable to respond to 13.2% of the 6,218 calls it received in 2009. Data in the Ludwig report said in 2003, Stratford EMS could not respond to 1,398, or 24%, of the 5,652 calls it received.
The Ludwig study follows on one performed by CBG Strategies, which reported a “toxic” environment and management conflicts inside Stratford EMS. It resulted in the hiring of a new EMS chief, and a suit filed by the longtime holder of the job.
The Ludwig study recommends assigning an assistant chief to oversee the Fire Department’s EMS operations and coordinate with Stratford EMS and other agencies.
Funding for the integrated system, according to the Ludwig study, would come from the EMS fund, an enterprise fund that currently funds Stratford EMS.
The CBG study concluded that Stratford is losing $500,000 a year on mutual aid calls for which it may not bill. The money would be recovered, according to the Ludwig study, if firefighters could practice as paramedics.

44 Responses to “Emergency Turf War”

  1. 1 mikereynolds

    As I read the article I noticed their EMS data was from 2009. That’s a big problem because there is a big difference between Stratford EMS 2009 and Stratford EMS 2012. The numbers used might as well be thrown out.

  2. 2 sudds

    I’m giving 2-1 odds that Donna Best sues John Kovach for writing an article that could potentially lead to the elimination of her job!!!

  3. 3 sudds

    Speaking of Mrs. Best…

    “That’s a big problem because there is a big difference between Stratford EMS 2009 and Stratford EMS 2012.”

    Anyone wanna guess what one of the biggest differences between 2009 and now is???

  4. 4 1george1

    The check is in the mail …
    The porsche is paid for …
    Politicians and allies care about anyone but ….

    To protect and serve ….(whom?)

    Cute picture

  5. 5 mikereynolds

    “Anyone wanna guess what one of the biggest differences between 2009 and now is???”

    hhhhm….uuuhhh…wait…I know this one.

  6. 6 jezebel282

    It appears to me that this is Lt Lantowsky’s awkward and a frankly insulting way to justify staffing levels and pay rates of the Fire Department.

  7. 7 1george1

    You formerly waxed poetic about people in uniform.

    I don’t mind good pay, good benefits, good pensions,
    and legitimate O. T.

    I would rather slightly overpay workers than grossly overpay
    HOWEVER, the levels paid to Social Security is too low.
    Pensions … for unconnected folks .. samesame

    Of the 270 Defined Benefit Pensioners over $ 40,000.
    there isn’t one who could justifiably receive over $ 25,000
    or maybe over $ 20,000 in 401 or Defined contribution.

    There appeared to be adjustment where the highest pensioner
    might not be replaced?
    However like news at 11 … story to follow …
    In Stratford, Pension questions … lawsuit to follow

  8. 8 1george1

    What is different between now and 2009?

    Mayor – Miron > Harkins
    EMS – Best > D’Onofrio
    POLICE – Burturla > Ridenhour
    FIRE – >
    EMS – McCarthy samesame
    LAWYERS – Burturla, Berchem / Kelly, Jackson / Florek -samesame

  9. 9 jezebel282


    “What is different between now and 2009?”

    A lot. Even more since 2003 (another irrelevant Lantowsky number). The bottom line here is that if these paramedics who are firefighters wanted to be paramedics then they would have been. But they chose to be firefighters instead. As for the firefighters that are EMT’s, well the Town states that you must be an EMT (and pass a whole bunch of other tests) before you are hired at SFD. The incentive there is kinda obvious.

    I know many Stratford firefighters and believe they are extremely well trained, proficient and dedicated to the citizens of Stratford. Nonetheless, this move by Lantowski is an obvious and heavy handed attempt to justify staffing/pay as well as causing a serious disruption in the relationship between the SFD and Stratford EMS both of which must work closely and cooperatively with each other every single day.

  10. The FD Union posted the following on their Facebook page:

    “We would like to be absolutely 100% crystal clear regarding the recently released EMS study. Our Fire Department, our Union, and our members are in no way shape or form attempting to start a “Turf War” with Stratford EMS.

    The working relationship between the Stratford Fire Department and Stratford EMS has drastically improved over the years with the cooperation of both agencies. We are not looking make changes to the service they provide or how they provide that service.

    Our goal is to simply increase the survivability of Stratford residents by ensuring that we provide the highest level of care available to them and to work in conjunction with Stratford EMS to provide this care.

    Please feel free to send us any questions you may have concerning this subject and Thank You for your continued support.”

  11. IF they were to be authorized to have medics on the FD I’m sure they would push for them to be an additional person on the rig they are assigned to. That means either more overtime or additional staff being hired. All at the cost of the taxpayer. I’m pretty sure it’s at least $10,000 per set of medic gear they would need, plus the cost of replacing things that are used. Since I think it would be unlikely that they would be approved to have medics riding as an additional crew member, they would have to take the fire truck out of service when the medic rides in on a call to the hospital. Even if a Stratford EMS medic responds to the call, it is unlikely that they will take over care of a patient that another medic has already started ALS interventions on. And this wouldn’t be out of spite, just in case anyone wants to try go down that road. Many times, in Milford, I will hear a Milford Fire medic riding a call in on an AMR medic unit. It comes down to being legally responsible for those ALS interventions.

  12. 12 jezebel282


    “IF they were to be authorized to have medics on the FD I’m sure they would push for them to be an additional person on the rig they are assigned to. That means either more overtime or additional staff being hired. All at the cost of the taxpayer”

    Does this mean you disagree with Lantowski?
    To be honest, I have never read such a poorly presented proposal…ever.

    Note to readers: ALS = Advanced Life Support. BLS = Basic Life Support.
    Paramedics are licensed by the State, certified by the National Registry of EMT’s and supervised by the doctors who are the directors of Emergency Medical Services in the area as ALS providers. This is not to mention the directors of the service they work for and almost every attorney running after an ambulance.

  13. Also, Mr Lantowsky states that he has been trained as a Pararmedic. While he MAY have taken the Paramedic class, he is NOT licensed by the State of CT or certified by the National Registry as a Paramedic. So, he’s NOT one of the people that “could start tomorrow.”

    I just checked out “The Ludwig Group’s” website (Company run by a career firefighter). They list previous clients, all of which are shown as actual agencies that hired them with the exception of Stratford, which was the union. Unions can be great for protecting employees from being screwed by management, but in the public sector, they can be great at screwing the taxpayer.

    If the fire department wants to help so much with EMS stuff, maybe EMS could also help with fire suppression. They could carry a few more fire extinguishers in the ambulances. Since they have volunteers, they can be called in at any time to help out at no cost to the taxpayer. I think there are already some EMS volunteers that are trained as firefighters who also volunteer at nearby fire departments. Maybe they could operate exterior hose lines while the “fire medics” go in and provide ALS to victims.

  14. 14 jezebel282


    That’s a “no”, right?

    “Unions can be great for protecting employees from being screwed by management”

    It came in real handy when Moron was mayor. With Ron Ing in charge of HR, I don’t think they are underused either.

  15. 15 sudds

    After looking at the list of top paid employees for the town, I think Mr. Lantowsky is trying to steer the town into directly the OPPOSITE way it should be going!!!

    I think we should start plans to dump all of those large salaries/pensions and head towards a volunteer fire department!!!

  16. 16 1george1

    Who is more likely to poison a whistleblower?
    EMS – unlikely?
    FIRE – likely?
    POLICE – more likely?
    POLITICOS – most likely?

  17. 17 jezebel282


    “I think we should start plans to dump all of those large salaries/pensions and head towards a volunteer fire department!!!”

    I think we should start plans to install effective management. Taxpayers seem unable to get either the mayor’s or council’s attention. It’s our own fault. We keep voting for the same people over and over again. We never learn.

  18. 18 1george1

    In the 1960s they asked 10,000 Americans a survey
    if there was too much apathy about government?
    1 % said yes
    2 % said no
    97 % didn’t care

    How many Stratford citizens even know there are
    Town charters, Town Council, and Boards of Ed?

  19. 19 sudds

    “We keep voting for the same people over and over again. We never learn.”

    When we have to choose between the token Democrat, the pre-anointed Republican and George Mulligan… what choice do we REALLY have???

  20. 20 jezebel282


    “what choice do we REALLY have???”

    Someone has to step up. Someone like a new parent with an MBA that lives in say, the third district.

  21. 21 sudds

    Hmm… where can we find someone like that???

  22. 22 jezebel282


    “Hmm… where can we find someone like that???”

    Beats me.

    Hey! I know! When you get home, ask Mrs. Sudds if she knows anyone like that.

  23. 23 nunya1


  24. 24 jezebel282


    Perhaps you hadn’t noticed, but you seem to have left Caps Lock on. Many people visit this blog every day, there is no need to use caps…people will read what you have to say.


    It is not that simple. There is nothing wrong or inherently evil about collective bargaining. Not a single municipal union in this state has the right to strike. What they do have is the right to collectively negotiate their contracts with the Town. With the Town’s conversion to a “strong” mayor form of government, collective bargaining becomes even more essential given the capricious and arbitrary nature of politicians.

    No, the problem with the unions is that their counterparts at the negotiating table are woefully inept.

    And as a courtesy to readers, please refrain from using caps lock.

  25. 25 1george1

    When you look at Excel of Town / BoE employees and pensions,
    you would find a multiples of last names.
    The hidden are by marriage, different last names.

    Like Tony Ross to his son.
    Like Dick Miron to his son.
    Like Joe Burturla (deceased) to his sons.
    Like Kevin Kelly’s mom.
    Like Naylors, Ulawtowskis, Murrays, Wilconsons,
    Knapps, and more.

    Increasingly they hired OUT OF TOWNERS, and people like Craig
    Budnick’s Brother in Law get hired as police or somethin in a
    near by town.

    Then you have people who put in their 4 – 6 years on the BoE
    and then get a job in HR.

    Many of the people are very competent & qualified,
    Like many of the people Loschiavos,

  26. 26 jezebel282


    I am not sure what your point was with that last one.

    In any event, it is clear from the release of your pension list and the top wage earners in Stratford that none of this is sustainable. We are not even counting contractual obligations with vendors, consultants and third party providers.

    The burden on taxpayers is becoming more and more unbearable while we receive less and less services. As it is with Harkins proposed budget of $191 MILLION the burden is nearing $4,000 per year for every man, woman and child in Stratford. (191Mil/50K).

    The choice confronting (most) residents is pretty much “pay up” or “move”. Many are choosing the latter. Many more will do so once the housing market recovers a bit more. This is not a good thing.

  27. 27 1george1

    helicopter my buzzed house – loschiavo wound up in wrong place.

    I guess sudds won’t vote for me any longer.

    While people mock me …
    Who knows more about the ins / outs of Pensions
    and more about the budget than most?

    While I complain – I also create(d) solutions

  28. 28 jezebel282


    The Stratford Volunteer EMS Association has updated the hours volunteered. You can see for yourself the number of hours EMT’s, AEMT’s and Paramedics donate to this Town:


    Click on “Detailed Results”.

    Thank you to each and every volunteer.

  29. 29 1george1

    Five Albuquerque Station Eight firefighters who won a $10,000 share of the Mega Millions jackpot last week have decided to donate an unspecified part of their winnings to fellow fireman Vince Cordova, who is suffering from a life-threatening tumor.

    “We decided to get tickets ten minutes before the sales closed,” said Capt. Jed Hyland told local news affiliate KOB. “I ran in shouting that we hit 5 of the 6 numbers.”

    After convincing their fellow firemen that it wasn’t an April Fools’ joke, Hyland and his four fellow winners (Steve Keffer, Paul McClure, Clinton Anderson and Si Do) decided to donate part of their winnings to the local firefighters Survival Fund. “Everybody at the station agreed that this would be a good opportunity,” Hyland said.

    KOAT reports that Cordova, 24, has a rare aggressive tumor that puts pressure on his brain. He’ll die if the tumor isn’t removed, but life-saving surgery from a specialist in Los Angeles costs several hundred thousand dollars.

    While the $10,000 is only a small portion of Cordova’s total medical bills, his fellow firemen hope that their donation will help raise awareness and encourage others to donate.

  30. 30 1george1

    Just before or after noon, I had a call from someone claiming
    to be from NJ, who I never met, yet did some work.

    This creep threatened & insulted me over the phone –
    We call them telephone tough guys.

    When I checked caller ID on line – there was a 40 minute gap
    where this incoming call should have been.

    My suspicion is that one of our least finest decided he would
    use information likely from an illegal phone tap …

    some people care nothing about their Constitutional oath and
    committ criminal and treasonous acts to steal PENSIONS and free
    money, I believe.

  31. 31 1george1

    The other thing about my caller was his limited intelligence
    and vulgarity. The conversation reminded me of the people
    who while insulting Jim Miron, caused the CT POST to shut
    down their on-line comment postings.

    Brave guy to threaten someone who is handicapped.
    Yes I have weight issues ….
    But I have documented physical issues.
    Since he appears to be a coward, maybe the only people
    he feels comfortably threatening are older handicapped people,
    where he can lash out anonymously ….

    Several legitimate police told me they read this website.
    I understand there are certain things they can’t co anything about.
    However this knuckle headed knuckle dragger rock heard/heart
    soulless minion …. does not reflect well on the others/

  32. 32 rex525

    George, while I genuinely think- that you think- that you are onto something most of the time, just what do posts 25, 27, 29 and especially 30 and 31 have to do with the topic at hand?

  33. 33 mikereynolds

    “George, while I genuinely think- that you think- that you are onto something most of the time, just what do posts 25, 27, 29 and especially 30 and 31 have to do with the topic at hand?”

    Like you’re going to get a coherent answer to that.

  34. 34 1george1

    Maybe I could not find the place to post what I wanted
    to post in an area where others deem appropriate?

    1 – I thought it was nice that Firemen are helping their own
    with Lottery winnings = Is that a fire truck + EMS truck
    I see on the picture associated with the post.

    2 – Since when do people suddenly care about where a post
    goes, if it show truthful opinion per Mirons/Burturlas?

  35. 36 1george1

    Saving Links?

  36. 37 jezebel282


    Right click on link. “Bookmark this link”

    At least learn the basics, George.

  37. 38 1george1

    How do I eliminate the thingy cutting into my post with the W?
    You explained. It didn’t work

  38. 39 jezebel282


    “Thingy”? Even I have limits, George.

  39. 40 1george1

    Maybe I should ask gi-go?

  40. 41 jezebel282

    Sounds more like an i.o.i. problem.

  41. 42 jezebel282

    But back to the topic.

    Police Department: Stratford’s Finest
    Fire Department: Stratford’s Bravest
    EMS: Stratford’s Forgotten

    To become a paramedic in the State of Connecticut requires (at a minimum) EMT-B certification, field time and testing. Then a required one year training course which includes hospital rotations, class time and required ride time. Then testing at the state and national level by the NREMT and many many practical and written tests along the way. In all a paramedic student is looking at (minimally) thousands and thousands of hours education, training and testing. All of which the student pays for, by the way. http://www.ct.gov/dph/site/default.asp

    The Town recently posted a position for a per diem paramedic at the whopping sum of $21/hour.


  42. 43 1george1

    How do I cease the nuisance emails notifying me of posts?
    I only delete them

  43. 44 1george1

    I note the PROFESSOR (goyische- yiddish cup?) made ZERO
    comments in the above series of comments.

    Now the PROFESSOR pulled JEZE strings and JEZE jumped
    higher than JIM & DICK MIRON …..

    What’s the word I’m looking for? Freier? Shnook?

    Prescient post # 18 among others, expecting PROFESSOR type:

    In the 1960s they asked 10,000 Americans a survey
    if there was too much apathy about government?
    1 % said yes
    2 % said no
    97 % didn’t care

    How many Stratford citizens even know there are
    Town charters, Town Council, and Boards of Ed?

    To some I’m a meshugenah schleprock shtick drek, la-azazel.
    A few respect me as a mensch.

    To bait fish withal: if it will feed nothing else,
    it will feed my defense.
    He hath disgraced me, and hindered me by millions for decades;
    laughed at my losses,
    mocked at my gains,
    scorned my (USA) nation,
    thwarted my bargains,
    cooled my friends,
    heated mine enemies;

    and what’s his reason? I am an upright dissenting American.
    Hath not an upright dissenting American eyes?
    Hath not an upright American hands, organs, dimensions,
    senses, affections, passions?
    Fed with the same food,
    Hurt with the same weapons,
    Subject to the same diseases,
    Healed by the same means,
    Warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer,
    as those who mock me?

    If you prick us, do we not bleed?
    If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
    If you poison us, do we not die? (or get really sick?)

    And if you wrong us, shall we not seek redress of grievance?

    If we are like you in the rest,
    we will resemble you in that.

    If an upright Dissenting American wrongs a Hypocrite,
    what is his humility? Expose’!
    If a Traitor, Criminal, or Hypocrite wrong a dissenting American,
    what should his sufferance be by American example?

    Why, redress of grievance, equal protection of law, made whole,
    an corrective, not punitive, protection.

    The villany you taught me, I will execute redress,
    and it shall go hard but I and others,
    will better the instruction.

    Regardless of what critics write, say, or think about the RTC,
    they create circumstances to WIN ELECTIONS.

    Boss Tweed:
    It’s not the VOTES that count.
    It’s who counts the VOTES!

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