Town eyes needs for improved emergency services

By LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted 6/14/18

Demetrius Ramsey, director of the Bradley County Community Service Agency, was a visitor at Tuesday's Charleston City Commission — with concerns.He said he had something he feels needs to be …

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Town eyes needs for improved emergency services

Posted

Demetrius Ramsey, director of the Bradley County Community Service Agency, was a visitor at Tuesday's Charleston City Commission — with concerns.

He said he had something he feels needs to be addressed.

Ramsey said he was  recently playing basketball  at Charleston's Hoyt Berry City Park when he was notified that a woman had collapsed near the stage in the park.

He was asked to assist, but his 911 call was sent to Athens. He had to be transferred back to Bradley County, which eliminated valuable minutes in response time. He added that this has happened to him before.

Others in the audience said they have experienced similar situations.

City Recorder Janet Reno said she has been told this happens due to a person's specific cellphone service.

Another person voiced an additional complaint, saying you often have to stand out in the street to provide responders with a direction to the emergency. 

Ramsey agreed, saying he had to jump up and down when the responders arrived, and their response to the woman was less than satisfactory (in his estimation). He said firemen arrived before EMS technicians.

Charleston officials plan to address this specific incident, and explore what can be done to improve service on the north end of the county.

Mayor Walter Goode said another problem is limited ambulance service to the north. Police Chief Johnny Stokes said this current difficulty is being caused  by a lack of personnel to adequately  man the ambulances. 

• City officials are taking steps to obtain assistance with the care and upkeep of the city cemetery.

They are writing a generic letter to all Charleston churches, asking for donations and/or in kind assistance with the cemetery. City Street and Maintenance Supervisor Melvin Graham said his department may be able to step up mowing needs.

• Goode also wants the maintenance department to place a chain across the entrance to the city park at Railway and Wool streets. He says traffic and parking is killing all the grass.

• Stokes discussed a plan for police cruisers to "piggy-back" communication on the Cleveland Police Department CAD system with 911, so officers can receive information and handle business from their vehicle.

He said the plan, which is expected to also be used by the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, should save his department time and effort.

The cost for equipment and service the first year will be around $4,000, and $720 each year after that. Charleston officers will also have to be certified on the equipment.

Stokes is also attempting to bring his staff back in line. His one officer is returning from nine-weeks medical leave, and he is beginning interviews for the other vacancy.

• Melissa Woody of the Historical Society and the Cleveland/Bradley County Chamber of Commerce filled in commissioners on the recent visit to Charleston of the Cherokee Removal Riders, who were on a multistate bicycle ride. "They were here June 4, and they were delightful," she said.

She also announced that the Historical Society will not meet this Sunday, since it's Father's Day.

Woody initiated a short discussion on the Historic Trail through the city. The 14 signs for the trail are being design, and she suggested the planting of memorial trees in the island of the new city parking space beside the municipal building.

• At the start of the meeting, McDermott said she was concerned by the city's recent assistance with residents' yard clean-up, and the provision of a dumpster.

"It was filled awfully quick, and a lot of people didn't have a chance to dispose of their trash," she said.

Street and Maintenance Supervisor Melvin Graham said they had to mash down the overload, and agreed it filled up in a hurry. He added that a lot of people made deposits at night, and there were efforts to leave articles that were not to be accepted. 

"I know a lot of people were disappointed, but maybe late in the summer we can get a dumpster back," said McDermott. It was a great idea, and perhaps we can repeat it, not too long from now.

• Commissioners also discussed the fact the new basketball goals have been installed in the park, and the new city limits sign is up at the intersection of Hiwassee and Lauderdale street (a partnership between the city and the Historical Society).

• Woody announced that expansion of the Heritage Center is finally underway. She also said advanced planning for this fall's International Cowpea Festival has begun. 

• Mayor Walter Goode and McDermott agreed on a motion to enter into a agreement with Athens Truck and Trailer for service, repair and other needs for the city's vehicles, if prices are comparable. 

Currently, the city is getting repairs on the city's tractor and truck, and Graham said the garbage truck is in need of tires.

Stokes said he had no problem with the plan, if his officers can remain with their vehicles for any necessary work.

• Goode made a motion that bathrooms in the park be painted with concrete paint (the walls and floors), so they can be readily cleaned with a hose.

• In closing, Woody said the Historical Society will not be meeting Sunday, since it is Father's Day.


Inset Text:

He was asked to assist, but his 911 call was sent to Athens. He had to be transferred back to Bradley County, which eliminated valuable minutes in response time. He added that this has happened to him before.

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