CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – As a state inspector was going over the Canfield Fire Department’s four ambulances, the chief said that his crews, and those from surrounding communities, regularly back each other up.
“We call Green, they’ll send an ambulance. We call Beaver, they’ll send an ambulance. Beaver called us just two weeks ago. We went down and backed them up when they had like four calls at once,” said Canfield Fire Chief Don Hutchison.
Just last week, Boardman’s administrator told Mahoning County commissioners that the area desperately needs a regional emergency medical system, but a number of local chiefs argue that’s not true.
“Because there’s already, already that level of government’s already there. The administrators are already there,” Chief Hutchison said.
Right now, most of the departments in Mahoning County, like Canfield, have at least one ambulance of their own or are working to buy one, all except for Youngstown, Boardman and Campbell.
“We already have an established program and we’re good,” said Green Township Fire Chief Todd Baird.
Green Township has been providing ambulance services for decades, using a tax levy and insurance reimbursements to support it.
The chiefs we spoke with today say the other communities’ lack of ambulance services isn’t their departments’ problem.
“Our former chief, 23 years ago saw this coming and went from one squad to two. I went from two to three and we’re just building our own. They need to do the same thing,” said Beaver Township Fire Chief Larry Sauerwein.
“You just have to have an ambulance to participate. It’s really simple. We take care of each other,” Chief Baird said.
Although commissioners promised to bring fire chiefs and others together to discuss the EMS problems, those we spoke with today say they’re opposed to the regional idea, especially if it harms the service they already provide.