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Ind. city reaches compromise on ambulance service

The Fort Wayne fire department and city have agreed to staff a paramedic or AEMT on each fire engine

By Kevin Leininger
The News-Sentinel

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — An agreement has been reached under which the Fort Wayne Fire Department will have a paramedic or advanced Emergency Medical Technician on each engine and the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority will continue to provide ambulance services.

As part of the agreement, which would take effect Jan. 1 pending approval from the TRAA Board of Directors, the fire department will receive funding from TRAA to offset the investments made by the city that will result in a firefighter paramedic or advanced EMT on every truck.

Also as part of the agreement, the FWFD will no longer pursue becoming the sole operator of ambulance services in the community. TRAA and Paramedics Plus will continue to provide ambulance services.

“We’re encouraged by the partnership and collaboration that took place to move emergency services forward in our community,” Fort Wayne Fire Chief Eric Lahey said in a statement. “It’s critical to provide the most efficient and effective care possible to the public. We’re looking forward to future successes as we work together to serve and protect Fort Wayne.”

“We believe this is a true win for our community as it retains high-quality ambulance service that Fort Wayne has received from Three Rivers Ambulance Authority for over 30 years and enhances that service with ALS first response provided by the Fort Wayne Fire Department in cases in which they arrive on a scene first and the patient’s condition could benefit from advanced care prior to an ambulance arriving,” said Three Rivers Ambulance Authority Executive Director Gary Booher.

The new partnership is intended to provide synergies in the areas of response times, education, planning, productivity and maximizing resources. Property taxes would not be used to subsidize the payments to the city under the agreement.

Fort Wayne firefighters respond to over 8,000 EMS calls per year, successfully treating 104 heroin overdose cases this year alone. Next week, the FWFD’s first class of firefighter paramedics will graduate as part of the FWFD’s 89th recruit class. The 11 paramedics will begin serving as Fort Wayne firefighters Nov. 23.

Copyright 2016 The News-Sentinel

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