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Fire Department Seeking Operation Of Fort Wayne Ambulances

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Zach Bernard/WBOI News
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The Fort Wayne Fire Department announced Tuesday they would like to pursue becoming the operator of ambulance services in Fort Wayne, which is currently provided by the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority.

Fort Wayne Deputy Fire Chief Adam O’Connor says it makes practical sense for the fire department to operate the ambulances.

“We’re already providing EMS service on 8,000 EMS calls a year," he said. "We are not receiving any compensation for that, and we are getting there faster than the ambulances.”

The Three Rivers Ambulance Authority disagrees. Chief Operating Officer Rob Smith says their service is a delicate one that can’t be done by just anyone.

“It’s about the people; making sure that people are properly trained, making sure they’re ready to go for their shift, making sure ambulances are ready to go and the equipment’s ready to go," said Smith. "And day-to-day, we meet to talk about our performance.”

The fire department also says too much money is being sent to TRAA’s parent company, Paramedics Plus, in Tyler, Texas. TRAA says that's not true, saying that revenue is reinvested in new ambulances and equipment while staying on the “cutting edge” of technology.

However, the fire department disagrees.

“We did our financial analysis and sent it over to the independent consultant, and we developed a five year financial plan, and everything tells us there’s about a million dollars of profits leaving this community.”

Smith says he believes there will be movement in City Council on the issue next month. If approved, the FWFD would begin the new model effective July 1, 2018.

Zach joined 89.1 WBOI as a reporter and local host for All Things Considered. He currently hosts Morning Edition.
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