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JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — How important is purchasing a second ambulance in Jamestown? With EMS calls at an all time high, it seems the city’s lone ambulance is not enough.
Over 80 percent of service calls to the Jamestown Fire Department are EMS related. With that number going up, first responders have to rely on mutual aid service hundreds of times to fill in gaps.
“I think it’s pretty clear that our city fire department and our residents need to have these firefighters staffed,” explained Councilman Bill Reynolds. “And keep the city solvent and safe. And give the residents something for their tax dollars.”
A multi-million dollar FEMA grant would allow the municipality to hire several new firefighters. However as we reported Tuesday, unforeseen costs have likely put the positions on hold.
“If these eight positions are declined and they’re not hired, and we have those four ARPA positions in there, you’re saying an ambulance can still be deployed is what you just said correct,” asked Councilman Russell.
“I did,“ said Fire Chief Matt Coon.
“What about the ladder truck,” added Councilman Russell. “Can the ladder truck be deployed at the same time that they are out on a rescue call if these eight positions are not hired.”
“No, they cannot,” replied Chief Coon.
The Fire Chief goes on to say that four additional roles, funded by the American Rescue Plan Act Dollars and hired in July of 2022, could staff the vehicle, it’s believed that the ambulance would bring in $400,000 dollars of revenue annually.
Over the decades, companies like ALSTAR EMS have helped fill the gaps. However in recent years, fewer EMTs are available.
“In a perfect world, if we had a couple of other competing companies to come to Jamestown that were able to do that,“ explained Council President Tony Dolce. “But we don’t have that, and we didn’t find that. So, then it falls basically on our laps because we have an obligation to deal with public safety.”
To extend the natural life of the current ambulance, if a second vehicle is purchased, Ambulance 1 could primarily handle medical transport for the city to lessen wear and tear.
Council members are likely to review the numbers and ask further questions prior to a vote on both the new hires and ambulance purchase ahead of their voting next session on Monday April 24. It’s unclear if the resolution will be tabled prior to a vote.
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