Saturday, July 12, 2008
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
The service officially begins Monday.
HUBBARD — Residents in the city and township now have an ambulance company dedicated to serving the area around the clock.
Life Fleet Ambulance Services will begin serving the Hubbard community Monday morning. The city and township have been without the presence of a committed 24-hour ambulance service for more than two years.
Jan Bolchalk, city safety director, said Life Fleet has given the city an estimated response time of 8 minutes on all calls. She said residents over the past several years have seen response times as high as 27 minutes with no full-time ambulance stationed in the area.
“A response time that high is rare, but it has happened,” she said. “We are grateful that Life Fleet has come to the city. They are going to keep a unit here, and that is something that we have not had for quite some time.”
Bolchalk said those using the service will pay normal rates established by the company, but the city will have no out-of-pocket expense to maintain the service. She said the service amounts to a “plus, plus” for residents with the faster response times and no cost to the city.
John Clemente, chief of the newly formed Eagle Joint Fire District, which serves the city and township, said there have been plans for the fire department to offer ambulance services.
The addition of Life Fleet should not interfere with any plans by the fire department to include those services in the future, he said.
Clemente said getting a quality ambulance service now is a plus for the community, regardless of whether the fire department is operating it.
“Eventually, we want to offer our own service, but this is a good thing for the public. Anything for the safety of the public I am all for,” he said.
Life Fleet services 28 nursing homes in the area, General Motors in Lordstown and the city of Campbell. Jeff and Debbie Lowery, owners of Life Fleet, said coming to Hubbard was a natural progression because of all the nursing homes they service in the Hubbard area.
“We have been working with the mayor for some time, and we believe that the need for our services is here,” Jeff Lowery said. “There are enough businesses and people in the area to justify that decision.”
Company representatives were at the city government building Friday with the Life Fleet Disaster Management Trailer for a quick demonstration to city officials. Jeff Lowery said the trailer also will be an asset to the Hubbard community in the event of a large-scale emergency.
The trailer includes an array of supplies including a large tent for emergency care.
“This is basically for anytime a large-scale group of people need to be serviced or moved,” said Jeff Lowery of the trailer. “If a tornado comes through, we can bring in our buses and use the trailer for supplies or to re-supply ambulances or create an emergency triage center.”
Mayor Art Magee said the level of serviced being offered “is what we have been waiting for” in the city.