Warren Fire Department-run EMS proposed in past - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Warren Fire Department-run EMS proposed in past

Posted: Updated:
WARREN, Ohio -

We told you last week about the city of Warren's meeting centered around ambulance response times.

Private ambulance providers, city and county leaders blame higher call volume in recent years on the opioid epidemic.

As officials work to find a solution to keep 911 response times within reasonable limits, some 21 viewers have questioned why the city of Warren does not offer its own EMS service through the fire department.

Warren firefighters say they approached the city about starting an EMS operation about seven years ago.

"We realized there was an issue in the city of Warren," said John Jerina, president of IAFF Local 204. "We weren't getting the response times that was in the contract that the city signed with EMS units."

He says Howland, Bazetta, Cortland, Champion, and Lordstown are among the communities that have fire-run EMS in Trumbull County.

The previous SAFER grant made it mandatory for new hires in Warren to be certified paramedics. Jerina says they moved forward with those requirements for the 25 firefighters covered by the funding, but that the overall plan to start up their own EMS was met with resistance from the city administration.

It wasn't long until their fears played out. Two years ago Jerina says firefighters waited 20 minutes at a scene for an ambulance and someone died waiting for help to arrive.

"We're trying to be a progressive department and when you are progressive and you're met with resistance and you see what's going to happen, happen, it's very frustrating," Jerina said.

21 News asked City Safety Director Enzo Cantalamessa if they city would consider taking another look at the option.

Cantalamessa said he doesn't believe the department has enough personnel, nor would the current budget support it.

As officials work to figure out a solution, one of the private ambulance providers is already taking steps by proposing an interim plan.

MedStar's legal counsel says he sent a letter to the Trumbull County prosecutor asking that the company split the calls 50-50 with the other private provider ENT. 

Attorney Scott Pullins says MedStar was previously only getting about 20-percent of the city's 911 calls. The company just signed mutual agreements with providers CAS Ambulance and Procare Ambulance to help.
 

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