EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – East Liverpool City Council gave its final vote Monday night for a public-private ambulance service. The city says the private ambulance companies in town are not responding to calls and this was a way to ensure patients get to the hospital before it’s too late.
Since the idea was brought up about eight months ago, city leaders, residents and some of the city’s first responders agree — it’s a matter of life and death.
Come spring, East Liverpool will have its own ambulances that will run only for residents within city limits. Leaders hope it means that the days of relying solely on private ambulance companies that may or may not show up are gone.
“The officer assumes somebody’s on their way, only for dispatch to call back ten minutes later and say there’s nobody on their way, there is no one available,” said Safety Service Director Brian Allen.
So the city voted in the partnership with Ambulance Service Incorporated.
“We will be hiring three new firefighters and the ambulance service that’s partnering with us will pay for those firefighters. The city will be responsible for purchasing two ambulances,” Fire Chief William Jones said.
Those ambulances will cost the city’s general fund about $75,000.
“In that situation, it would leave us with nothing to do and no reason to actually be in the city,” said Ken Joseph, owner of Lifeteam Incorporated.
Lifeteam has been in the city since 1966 but with the new deal, Joseph just won’t be able to afford to keep it there if it won’t be needed for any calls.
Joseph told council he’s now going to pull Lifeteam’s service out of the city.
City leaders say it’s an unfortunate loss, but that they gave Lifeteam a chance to be a partner.
“Unfortunately, we held numerous meetings here in this office, where he was invited to attend and never did,” Allen said.
East Liverpool will also make space available rent-free at the central fire station and the closed station on St. Clair Avenue if the company wants to bring in more ambulances.