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Ridgewood Fire Department Takeover Per Diem EMS Program ,Public Safety or Power Grab ?

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, at Wednesday Council meeting, Mayor Susan Knudsen read a written statement that, defending her position to reduce the role of emergency services and shift daytime emergency medical services coverage to the Ridgewood Fire Department. The latest budget calls for the addition of two more firefighters.


Resident Linda Scarpa, who has repeatedly made public comments criticizing the “defunding” of the emergency services, again called on the Council to rethink their plan. Scarpa said that she has estimated that the two additional firefighters would cost the Village $200,000 per year. This figure is not being disputed by either Mayor  Knudsen or Village Manager Heather Mailander.

While Chief Van Goor stated in February that hiring more firefighters will be more cost effective in  their first years, these are positions which have salaries and benefits which increase to over  $100,000 a year for each firefighter hired – more than our entire per diem staff and Emergency  Services Chief’s salaries combined, and a third of our department’s entire budget.

While Knudsen maintained that safety is at issue in the decision to vastly reduce the role of emergency services, Scarpa said that Knudsen is reacting to one incident during 2019 in which an EMS worker fell asleep on the job. That person was subsequently terminated, Scarpa said. There are currently nine part time, per-diem emergency medical service workers who would be eliminated under the proposed budget.

Scarpa said ,“This will compromise the safety of our village during a pandemic,” , adding that firefighters’ first responsibility is to respond to fires.

Resident Cynthia Olsen said, “I have an 87-year-old mother…and I want to be sure when I call 911 the firehouse is not diverted to a fire. Mom just spent nine days in the hospital and the EMT’s saved her life.”

Ridgewood Emergency Services has maintained that they are not a failing department. They are being purposely dismantled for the benefit of the Ridgewood Fire Department at the cost of caring for the residents of Ridgewood.

11 thoughts on “Ridgewood Fire Department Takeover Per Diem EMS Program ,Public Safety or Power Grab ?

  1. There was more than just one incident. There were incidents in 2020 as well.

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  2. Some how the truth is somewhere in the middle

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  3. Susan is surely grasping at straws here. What happened to this being purely a budgetary measure? Susan changes tactics and lashes out once her lies are revealed. Just watch the end of the council meeting, how dare another councl member question her and ask for more information. Mommy knows best!

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  4. She has the power.

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  5. If you think this is something wait until you see the ax come out regarding the pickle ball fiasco.

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  6. Let see how many new fireman they are going to hire in the months to come and what will be the cost.

  7. Knudsen must have other family members who dropped out of high school and need six figure jobs.

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  8. I have heard from numerous sources in the village that the problem has been rectified including the firing of a person who did not hear the phone and the installation of an alarm system that is triggered whenever a call comes in. they are going after the EMT with a sledge hammer and in the process gutting a program that has served us well for over 40 years at practically no cost to the tax payer. In addition , the residents have heard no real discussion take place at the council level and facts and figures seem non existent.

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  9. Village of Ridgewood dirty politics at its best. They always have done whatever they would like. They don’t give two shits about any kind of laws. What we do know is that the fire department has an extraordinary overtime budget. It’s a bit ridiculous. Then come to the police department. But their overtime budget. And in the past if those two departments exhausted their overtime budget they would start picking at other overtime budgets throughout the village. Not right. Very dirty.

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  10. Scammers

  11. That article is ALL true Hey Ridgewood view the Village Council Meeting Feb 21, 2021,, Village Manager says DEFUND the EMT twice A question is asked how much two more Fire Fighters will cost the Village .. the response is guess at best with Bennies… !!! No numbers are give even though the Fire Chief admits he AREADY received on Fire Fighter in December 2020, and now in February 21, 2021 he says.. 2 more should do it… Do WHAT????? All of the Village Council and Mayor NEED to table this idea out of the budget NOW !! We the Village must demand a labor study, cost study and SAFETY study before you DECIMATE the EMT and the Community Service which goes with it… and as an FYI.. if the EMT are so incompetent as Knudsen clearly implied at the Public meeting on May 5, 2021 in a prepared statement.. Prove it! Bring in the EMT coordinator to SPEAK at a PUB:C meeting. Stop basing your PREPARED statement obliterating the EMT on one sided comments fed to you Via the Fire Chief…
    The mere fact you base your change on two things.. safety and incompetence.
    Really?
    On Safety.. you want to DEFUND the part time paid EMTs , which cost the TAXPAYOR nothing and their ENTIRE Budget of $70000 is funded by the Ambulance calls. And make them work zero days and only 7 pm to 7 am Monday to Friday and all Weekends day and night.. with ZERO compensation.
    Then take Their $70000 and give it to the Fire Dept to hire TWO MORE paid Fire Fighters,, which will cost the taxpayer an additional money, est $180000 to start….
    Thats a gain of two taxpayer funded positions vs a loss of 9 low paid first responders..
    On Competence
    According to the Mayors public statement,, the EMT made repeated mistakes, sleeping, late calls
    with zero specifics.. only stating several.. and also saying her information was from the Fire Chief
    and zero contact from the EMT Coordinator..
    How interesting… using your logic
    If the EMT are so bad.. why are they only allowed to service ONLY night calls 7 pm to 7 am and all weekends…alone?
    That written statement was disgraceful, and wrong.
    Tell the TRUTH instead of lies to the Village people .
    We do NOT want the EMT DEFUNDED.. at all.
    Take this out of the 2021 budget, as your plan compromises the Safety of the Village.

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