Yesterday, the Pine Barrens Tribune reported a story about Bass River Township having replaced Great Bay EMS (volunteer) with a commercial company, Quality Medical Transport. In the article, township officials went just short of calling Great Bay EMS “Unprofessional”. Below we have quoted Great Bay’s response.

Reported by the Pine Barrens Tribune, the elected officials of Bass River Township have unfortunatley & abruptly terminated our services without any representation or opinion of the residents of Bass River who will now be billed for EMS services.

Many inaccuracies were stated by Mayor Deborah Cope & township officials that we will defend.
First and foremost in 2018 Great Bay Regional Volunteer EMS was dispatched to an average 19.8 calls a month. Great Bay answered 17.4 while Quality answered 2.4 on average monthly. That breaks down to Great Bay handling 88%.

In 2019 (through May) Great Bay has been dispatched to 94 calls. Great Bay handled 67 Quality handled 27. Which Breaks down to 71%. While it is a drop in percentage and a valid concern, it is a far stretch from the 60% they reported.

The article stated there was concern about the amount of ambulances in the case of a large scale incident. Great Bay has 5 operational ambulances and mass casualty plans that have been in place for years that include a broad response of multiple local paid & volunteer agencies. There is absolutely no concern for public safety there as they are implying.

Township Clerk Amanda Somes went as far as to indicate that I or the leadership is unprofessional for failing to attend a meeting. Here are the facts:
-A representative from Bass River attends our meetings every single month.
– Mayor Cope has never once attended in 2 years.
-Within the past two years the only issue that was ever brought to my attention was the name “Bass River” on a hand out.
-I was invited and was unable to attend one single meeting.
-Great Bay was not notified of this special meeting held by the township, it is of no wonder why residents are not in attendance
-Deputy Mayor Nick Capriglione attended our last trustees meeting less than a month ago and brought nothing to our attention.

If there were so many issues with our services that required immediate action before something “catastrophic happened” how come it was never once relayed to us?
Simple communication goes a long way.

On a side note the working relationship that we have had with New Gretna Fire Company Sta. 421 has been nothing but excellent! We will always be willing to respond to Bass River if our services are needed and requested. We will be continuing our services in Bass River until July 1st.

In closing, I’ll leave you with this direct quote in the Pine Barrens Tribune regarding the paid service that is replacing us: (In cases where the party being transported is not insured, “they can take it up with the company,”)
Good luck residents of Bass River!!

Jay Zimmerman – Captain, Great Bay Regional Volunteer EMS