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City Officials Eye Proposals For Ambulance Service

City of Jamestown officials are looking for proposals from businesses that provide ambulance services.

Eddie Sundquist, Jamestown mayor, said city officials are in the process of drafting a request for proposals notification to provide ambulance service for the city. He said following the bid process, if an ambulance service company is selected, they would be the main responder to emergencies in the city, with the city’s fire department as a secondary responder.

“We recognize the absolute need,” Sundquist said. “We’re trying to resolve this as soon as possible.”

Last year, city officials started discussing the possibility of starting an ambulance service in the city again. In September, Sam Teresi, former city mayor, rolled out the Smart City Capital Investment Program, which included the purchase of two new ambulances at the cost of $200,000 each. He said city officials needed to investigate the possibility of starting to provide an ambulance service again because of the reduction in transportation services provided by Alstar EMS. In recent years, the number of ambulance calls the Jamestown Fire Department answers has increased “significantly” because of Alstar reducing its service, Teresi said.

In February 2019 during a Chautauqua County Legislature committee meeting, Dave Thomas, WCA Services Corp. executive director, said in 2018, his organization, which operates Alstar EMS, received 20,000 calls and could answer only 16,000 because of a lack of staff. He said part of the problem is Alstar lost EMS workers when the county started its new emergency medical services program — also known as “fly-cars” — in August 2017.

Because of the decrease in ambulance service provided by Alstar, Teresi said city officials have started developing a business plan to possibly start an ambulance service. He said the city would only start to provide ambulance service if Alstar continues to decrease its calls or if they stop providing the service altogether.

In September, Harry Snellings, Jamestown Police Department chief and city public safety director, said when comparing the first six months of calls in 2018 to 2019, the Jamestown Fire Department increased its calls for service by 52.3% and mutual aid from outside city departments increased by 135%.

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