E. Liverpool considers partnership to improve ambulance response times

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EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) – Ambulance services in East Liverpool are under scrutiny after an incident last month when a woman’s ride to the hospital never came.

Police officers ended up rushing her to the hospital themselves when the ambulance they called for her didn’t show up. She passed away after suffering from a brain aneurysm.

East Liverpool Fire Chief Bill Jones said there are too many problems and something has to change.

“Our police department is keeping track of when ambulances are not available to respond and those numbers are starting to climb.”

Residents have mixed reviews about the local ambulance services. Some say they haven’t had problems while others say there are times when an ambulance never showed up.

“There’s really no rhyme or reason. Sometimes they’re available, sometimes they’re not,” Jones said.

He proposed a partnership this week between one of the local private ambulance services and the city. The company would provide a paramedic-staffed ambulance for emergency calls within East Liverpool city limits.

In turn, the city would give the ambulance and crew space — rent-free — at the central fire station, as well as the closed station on St. Clair Avenue if the company wanted more ambulances in the city.

The company would be responsible for all wages and benefits for three new firefighters and EMTs but the city would lease the ambulance and needed tools to the company for $1 a year.

“This partnership does exist in the area. In Mahoning County, Austintown Fire Department. They’ve done a great job with their model and that’s why we want to mimic ours after theirs,” Jones said.

So how would it affect residents?

Jones said the company would bill them normally.

Three new employees for the ambulance would be at minimal cost to taxpayers, with the potential of lowering ISO insurance and, therefore, lowering homeowners’ rates.

The two companies currently in East Liverpool — ASI and Lifeteam — have not shown any interest. Jones has attempted to meet with them but they won’t.

However, a company just outside of town has shown interest in a partnership.

Jones said it’ll be up to who bids on it.

“Our intention is to provide the best and most timely care that we can.”

None of the ambulance companies have returned WKBN’s calls and requests for comment.

The proposal is with the city finance committee right now. If the committee approves it, the proposal can go out for bidding.

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