Delran EMT squad suspended over certification of chief
DELRAN — The state Department of Health assured a South Jersey township that despite its first aid squad being suspended, the township is still covered for emergencies.
The Delran Emergency Squad’s license to operate was suspended on Sunday after multiple violations were uncovered by state Health Department inspectors, including the discovery that Chief Donald Horner's EMT certification expired in 2010. The squad's board also denied requested records.
Horner was also characterized as "belligerent, combative, and uncooperative" when inspectors showed up at the squad headquarters on June 11, and he allegedly threatened to kill one of them.
"While the inspectors were attempting to begin the audit, you were verbally abusive to them and even stated to the investigators that you needed to leave before you 'killed yourself or killed you,' meaning the investigators," the department wrote in a letter to Horner.
As the inspectors left the building, Horner screamed at them and "went nose-to-nose" with one of the investigators.
The department said an investigation was launched into the squad after a notification that it was operating emergency vehicles with uncertified staff.
Besides his certification being expired for eight years, Horner's EMT instructor certification had expired in 2016.
Inspectors initially were given a runaround trying to examine online care reports. They were directed first to the squad's attorney and then the squad's IT specialist to gain access. The IT specialist said he had his access restricted and he couldn't help.
When squad president Josephine Hubbs was asked why the specialist's access had been restricted, she said there was concern by the board about the "integrity" of the records. After Hubbs was told she was hindering the state's investigation, access was reinstated. An examination of the records showed Horner had removed his name from activity logs.
The DES did deny access to training curriculums and state training fund forms.
"Besides using uncertified staff for its ambulances, investigation prevents it from determining whether the agency is in violation of other regulatory requirements that are essential for public health and safety. As such, the Office of Emergency Medical Services is unable to determine at this time whether DES is in compliance as a safe and effective basic life supporter provider," the Department of Health said.
Emergency coverage for Delran is still being provided with the assistance of the Burlington County EMS Coordinators and licensed agencies from surrounding communities.
"There has been no disruption in service to the public. The NJ Department of Health continues to work with township and county officials to help secure long-term coverage," a department spokeswoman told New Jersey 101.5.
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