CARES funds help Ohio FD launch ambulance service
The Steubenville Fire Department was able to purchase and stock three ambulances and launch the long-awaited service on Sunday
By Laura French
STEUBENVILLE, Ohio — An Ohio fire department launched its own ambulance service on Sunday after receiving a boost from CARES Act funds.
The Steubenville Fire Department was able to purchase and stock three ambulances using the federal aid money, WTOV9 reported last month.
On Sunday, the ambulances officially went into service, and the city will no longer need to rely on mutual aid to provide EMS transport services for residents, according to the Herald-Star.
Just six months ago, the fire department didn't have any EMS equipment and no way to transport patients, Fire Chief Carlo Capaldi said. The federal CARES aid allowed the department to purchase and fully stock its two ambulances and a third backup ambulance.
According to WTOV9, there has been an increase in 911 calls related to COVID-19 in Steubenville, making the new local ambulance service a valuable asset.
"We can't thank [our] Citizens enough for all the support they have shown us over the past few months while we were preparing for this day," Steubenville Firefighters Local 228 said in a statement on Sunday. "The Steubenville Fire Dept began this service with one purpose and that was to provide our citizens with reliable and professional EMS service."
Staffing costs remain one hurdle for the new service, as the city was unable to obtain a SAFER grant that would have allowed them to hire nine new members to fully staff all of the ambulances, the Herald-Star reported. The city was still able to hire three new members from its existing budget, and officials say they will consider additional hires in the future as they assess how the new ambulance service is doing.
As of 0800 today the Steubenville City Fire Department started operation of its first transport ambulance. FF/Medic Bert Gaffney and FF/EMT-I Justin Boley are the first crew. We are excited to bring this new service to our citizens. @Ohio_pro_ffs pic.twitter.com/TyzM75Pd7Z— Steubenville Firefighters Local 228 (@IAFF_local228) October 18, 2020