Senators ask Army to reconsider reduction of EMS at Fort Meade

April 06, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes have joined an effort to stop the Army from eliminating 24-hour emergency medical services at Fort Meade.

In a letter Friday to the Army's acting secretary, the Maryland Democrats expressed "deep concern" about a proposal to scale back paramedic services. Under the cost-cutting measure, base paramedics would work from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

The new schedule was supposed to go into effect yesterday, but military officials put it on hold until June 1 to give local officials more time to assess possible effects of the change. County officials have expressed concern that local emergency services would be strained.

Mikulski and Sarbanes said the plan is ill-conceived, as the heavily guarded base is located at the western edge of the county.

"Response time for local emergency response teams is significantly delayed both due to geography and their justifiable inability to bypass Fort Meade security," they wrote. "We strongly urge you to reconsider this decision."

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