YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The Youngstown Fire Department has stopped using its fire trucks for emergency medical calls after it was determined what they were doing was illegal.
The fire department needs what are known as “standing orders” from a hospital and is working to get them. But in the meantime, they cannot help the city’s AMR ambulance service when needed.
Fire Chief Barry Finley says there’s been more of a need to help AMR with emergency responses, so Youngstown would send its trucks and a paramedic or EMT.
But, Youngstown lacks standing orders from a hospital where a doctor can guide first responders until a patient arrives at the hospital.
Chief Finley was told by the Ohio Division of Emergency Medical Services that operating without standing orders was illegal, so the service has been stopped.
Councilwoman Anita Davis, who chairs Youngstown’s safety committee, wants the trucks put back into use for medical responses.
“My understanding is we have 19 paramedics and 27 EMTs at the Youngstown Fire Department who are certified. If we have that kind of talent skilled at our fire stations, and if they are receiving any kind of bonuses or things like that for having the certification, then we should put that talent into use,” she said.
Chief Finley says he’s looking into asking University Hospital in Ravenna to provide standing orders. He says Mercy Health does not provide the service and AMR said no, which Finley says he understands.
President of the Youngstown Firefighters Union Jon Racco released a statement that read, in part, “The firefighters have always been willing and ready to help the citizens. In order to do that, proper planning, procedures and protocols have to be in place…The only way that can happen is by sitting down at the bargaining table and negotiating — something we implore the Brown administration to do.”