Letters to the Editor 3/30

March 30, 2001

Letters to the Editor 3/30

Smithsburg happy to give you a tour

To the editor:

In response to the letter about Smithsburg Elementary Medical Services (SMES) vehicles seen outside of Smithsburg, allow me to explain that response to medical emergencies by SEMS is never in jeopardy because a SEMS volunteer is using a company vehicle for non-emergency use.

Volunteers on call are encouraged to have company vehicles at work or at home. Because SEMS has active volunteers sufficient to meet and exceed staffing requirements, there is always coverage from the station.

Smithsburg area residents can feel confident that SEMS will meet their emergency medical needs.

SEMS currently has two ambulances, two advanced life support (ALS) vehicles and a duty officer vehicle. Because SEMS has saved money using volunteer staffing, rather than paid medics, SEMS has purchased a third, state of the art, heavy-duty ambulance with all the required equipment, plus additional equipment recommended by the Maryland institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. The ambulance will be in service as soon as it inspected by the Washington County Fire and Rescue Association.


SEMS is proud of the service it provides the Smithsburg community. Volunteers respond to an average of 70 calls a month; the average response time is 1.6 minutes. (That means the SEMS ambulance is out of the station in 1.6 minutes). The chief and assistant chief are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

SEMS has tried and failed to locate Mr. Andrews, the author of the letter. We would like to explain to him how SEMS works and alleviate his concerns about his family's emergency medical needs.

I invite Andrews, and other community residents to call SEMS at 301-824-3314 and ask for an officer or director, or to stop by the station at 8 Maple Avenue for a tour of the station and a demonstration of some of the equipment, such as the Lifepack 2, electrocardiogram monitor that helps SEMS personnel provide immediate treatment for heart attack patients.

Judith E. Ferro

Secretary, SEMS Board of Directors


Trash removal would help downtown

To the editor:

Having lived in Hagerstown for more than 20 years and practiced law downtown for a like period, I have followed with interest decades of news about "downtown revitalization." Several years ago I became an owner of a downtown property on East Washington Street, and at about the same time I began reading about "Smart Growth." While I find the debate and the publicity interesting, the simple fact is that much of downtown Hagerstown remains unattractive and trash-ridden.

Of particular interest is my next-door neighbor. The first floor of 31 East Washington St. houses the remnants of the ill-fated C&W Travel. The upper floors are apartments.

With regularity, the sidewalk in front of that building is littered with trash and occasionally animal feces. My repeated requests to city officials to monitor the situation in both the front and the rear of 31 East Washington Street has not produced any consistent surveillance. For approximately two weeks, old carpeting and old furniture has been tucked into one of the front doorways for the apartment building.

Bags of trash fill the space between that building and mine. In the rear of the building, an abandoned couch and chair have sat on the grass for at least the last three weeks. All of these eyesores are in full view of anyone who passes by. Undoubtedly, dozens of city employees see them ever day.

I do not expect perfection. But I do expect a modest degree of vigilance by the city in taking some very easy and obvious steps towards making downtown Hagerstown more appealing. Without such basic efforts, "downtown revitalization" and "Smart Growth" will continue to be unreached and unreachable goals.

Russell R. Marks


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