Ohio city switches to public-private ambulance service
EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – The City of East Liverpool is getting closer to having the area’s first public-private ambulance service. This comes after several incidents where no ambulance was available for emergencies — some of which ended in tragedy.
East Liverpool’s fire crew is looking forward to the department’s new additions.
This spring, the city could see new firefighters, paramedics and ambulances that are run through a partnership with a local ambulance company.
“The problem right now is you have three ambulance companies and they all do transports for hospitals, nursing homes, that kind of stuff and there’s where the bulk of their money comes from,” said Safety Service Director Brian Allen.
Those transports have tied up the private companies, keeping them away from emergencies. That’s why East Liverpool is creating a public-private service with one of them that will only service within city limits.
“We’ll be running our own ambulance out of house and it will always be stationed here at Central,” said Fire Chief Jason Gusta. “We’ll be able to respond to the calls faster and it won’t be running transfers from hospital to hospital, so it’ll always be in this area.”
East Liverpool says it just finished negotiations with Ambulance Service Incorporated.
“The city will have to pay for the ambulances and we’ll have to pay for the workers comp of the employees, but everything else is funded through the ambulance service,” Allen said.
The company will pay for three new firefighters to work on the ambulance.
The city is looking at buying two ambulances that will cost about $75,000 total, coming from East Liverpool’s general fund.
“It won’t deplete our fund, plus we will still bill like traditional ambulance services,” Mayor Ryan Stovall said.
An increase in manpower at the fire department will also be a step toward lowering the department’s ISO rating, which will result in lower insurance rates for homeowners.
East Liverpool residents will receive a normal bill if they need ambulance service. Otherwise, this partnership will result in minimal cost to taxpayers.