Jackson Township renews participation in TEMS program

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By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

The Jackson Township Fire Department has been authorized to continue a program that enables their personnel to be on-scene with the Grove City Division of Police when their officers are called to respond to high-risk situations.

At its regular meeting last month, the township board of trustees unanimously approved the renewal of a memorandum of understanding with the local law enforcement agency which allows for a small unit of specially trained paramedics to embed with the division’s strategic response team (SRT) when they are deployed to defuse public safety emergencies.

The board explained that the reason why they approved the renewal of the tactical medic program (TEMS) is because they felt not doing so would be a disservice to a sworn duty to save lives.

“That is what this collaborative partnership between these two departments is all about – saving lives,” said trustee Ron McClure.

McClure said one of the reasons why he personally believes this joint partnership is beneficial to all involved is because it can provide a sense of ease to those in life-threatening situations to have an awareness that trained medical professionals are on the scene and ready to render aid in seconds.

“With this program and this partnership, I think officers can have a sense of ease knowing that a well-trained medical professional is nearby to provide aid and I think the same can be said for our residents who may find themselves caught up in an unfortunate situation to have that peace of mind that well-trained medical professionals are right on the scene.”

Prior to the joint partnership agreement that was initially signed in 2019, fire department personnel were limited in their role to provide immediate medical assistance to officers and the greater community when some emergency scenes were still active.

“They had to stand back from the scene and wait until they had been given the all-clear,” said Jason Stern, a lieutenant with the GCPD who also serves as the commander of the division’s SRT.

Under the terms of the agreement, some fire department personnel will be able to embed with the special police unit in emergency situations but still with some limitations.

“They do not go into the ‘hot zone’ with us,” said Stern.

Stern explained that if there were a situation where officers were actively being shot at, the township paramedics would be staged away from the scene.

“They will be in what we call the ‘warm zone,’ where they are away from most of the danger but still able to respond in a moment’s notice.”

He said the paramedics on-scene are provided with a guard and they are all required to wear division issued tactical uniforms and gear. They are not able to carry guns on the scene.

The members of the TEMS program have trained and will continue to train at least once a month with the SRT to learn new maneuvers and become more familiar with the terminology the officers use in emergency situations.

As the individual in charge of the TEMS program, Lt. Perry Radi said he is grateful that the fire department will continue to serve alongside the local police division to provide immediate medical care to officers and the public.

“I think that this is a great program because it allows us to provide immediate care to the police officers and the civilians when needed in these dangerous situations,” he said. “For the most part, we don’t have to wait to enter a scene now because of this program. We can get to work right away trying to save lives.”

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