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The Villages
Monday, September 20, 2021

Save our Villages Public Safety Department

To the Editor:

We must become engaged and be aware of what is happening with Sumter County’s options for solving the problem of extremely long response time by AMR, their contracted, for-profit ambulance transport service. To be short and to the point, five out of the 10 study options the county board has offered to the ad hoc committee for their review, would ELIMINATE our Villages Public Safety (Fire) Department as we know it. Sumter County Villagers, as well as all those Villagers living in Lake and Marion county are at risk of losing the services of The Villages Fire Department and their quick response teams!
We don’t want the county to take over administration for all EMS and Fire Department duties within Sumter County, as well as force Lake and Marion County to find a way to provide those services to the communities within their boundaries.
I have total respect for all the fire departments and EMS personnel and know they do their best with the given resources and leadership! I know from personal experience that The Villages Public Safety Department is outstanding. They have responded on several occasions to our home, and provided excellent medical treatment and care, while we awaited transport by ambulance to the hospital.
We can’t afford to lose The Villages Public Safety Department’s expertise and leadership!
Sumter County is the administrator of the private, for profit ambulance service which has failed us, at times causing waits anywhere from 30 minutes or more before arriving to transport a patient to the hospital.
I totally disagree with the county administrator’ s claim that Richard Baier and Chief Cain are trying to avoid being accountable! Quite the opposite, the county administrator is using this as a diversion to hide the fact that the county’s administration of the contracted ambulance service has failed. Our Villages Public Safety Department has offered a solution, being willing to replace AMR, and to provide us with prompt and professional ambulance transport service! We implore the Sumter County Board and Administrator to find a way to let our Villages Public Safety Department provide emergency ambulance transport service going forward.
This is a complex issue with many factors and legislative laws.
We the residents of the Villages need to get involved, understand and provide feedback to County Administrators, Commissioners, the ad hoc committee, cities, towns and District Management.
The next meeting dates of the ad hoc committee are August 4, 18, September 1, 15, at the Wildwood Community Center, 7 p.m., and are open to the public.
This is so important to our well being we must not sit back and wait!

Mike and Chris Rinaldi
Village of Pine Hills


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