By kalea hall
A unique collaboration of the Austintown Fire Department and Lanes Life Trans will ensure the fast availability of an ambulance when an emergency happens in the township.
The department and the private company announced on Monday they have a plan worked out to equip an emergency unit with one paramedic, a firefighter and emergency medical technician.
The collaboration, a first in the Mahoning Valley and in Ohio, will require three new firefighters for the service to be up and running by January 2014.
“It’s going to assure a primary 911 unit for Austintown,” said Randy Pugh, vice president of Lanes. “We have a great response time, but we think we can improve it.’
Lanes has a current response time of six minutes, but when someone needs emergency assistance every minute counts, Pugh said.
The idea of bringing in an emergency unit in addition to the two Lanes units already in Austintown has been in the mix for several years.
Although Lanes covers 11 areas, Pugh knew Austintown was a place where the company wanted to start a collaboration.
Lanes has worked with the Austintown Fire Department since the company began a contract with the township in the 1980s.
Austintown “is where we came from, and I have a great working relationship with Chief Andy Frost III,” Pugh said.
Having an emergency unit will allow for the response time to be faster and if there is a fire, the firefighter on the emergency unit can also help.
The three firefighters will be hired and paid for by the township, but Lanes will then reimburse the township.
Lanes will also provide the paramedic and take care of insurance.
“We gain a firefighter on duty 24 hours a day and it will be free to the fire department,” Frost said.
The township will have to purchase some equipment for the ambulance, which will be designed to represent the collaboration.
There are still some loose ends to be cleared up before the collaboration actually begins.
Pugh said he has also talked with other area fire departments about joining forces.
“We like to be a leader and this is something unique,” Pugh said.