MILTON TWP., Ohio (WKBN) - Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham is trying to regionalize Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the western part of the county.
The possibility of merging Milton, Jackson, Ellsworth and Berlin townships' EMS is up for discussion.
Regionalization has been on the rise throughout Ohio and the entire country.
"Each of these townships approach in a similar matter, but they each have their own region they're trying to take care of," Meacham said. "Each have their own equipment, each have their own staffing and they are all fairly remote from any traditional ambulance service. The ambulance service now comes in from Austintown."
Although it's only in the very early planning stages, Meacham said a meeting next week will lay out a rough outline of what could be expected if the merger is approved.
Trustees and fire chiefs from all four townships are invited to join the conversation at the Milton Township Fire Department on Wednesday, January 18.
"The hope is to have them start to talk to see who could reduce costs and increase response times, and just open the conversation and hopefully, we'll come to some future plans."
Potential benefits of the merger could include more staffed ambulances and quicker response times.
"These pieces of equipment are expensive and if we could start cooperating in the purchase of those equipments," Meacham said. "Staffing is always a problem for everyone, 24/7 coverage is always a problem. I think it just makes so much sense for response times."
While Meacham said the move could save each township money, fire officials said their departments' effectiveness has to be the top concern. They said they'll have a better idea of what the merger could mean after the meeting, but are still remaining cautious.