Austintown Township's new ambulance is rolling as of Jan. 5.
In its first four days the ambulance was used to respond to 25 medical emergencies and has brought a valuable service to the residents.
The new ambulance is actually a joint effort between the fire department and Lanes Life Trans. Lane covers the township with two of its green and white vehicles, but often those vehicles have to make runs into neighboring townships.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Township fire department, along with Lane's Life Trans, brought a new ambulance to the residents. Pictured in front of the new Austintown Fire Department and Lanes Life Trans ambulance from left are: Firefighter/EMT Brandon Wertz, fire fighters Mike Maiorana, Fred Marcum, and Terry Anania, Capt. Ray Harnevoius, and Lanes Life Trans Paramedic Rosemary McCarthy. Wertz and McCarthy were the first B crew to run the new vehicle when it officially went into service on Jan. 5.
"Lane's has two ambulances stationed in the township, but this new one will not leave the township," said Fire Chief Andy Frost III. He said this third ambulance will help guarantee a fast response during a medical emergency for Austintown residents.
The agreement between the fire department and Lane's is a win for everyone. Lane's provides the ambulance and one Paramedic under the agreement. Frost said the fire department then provides a firefighter/EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). The firefighter is paid from the fire department and is reimbursed from Lane's.
"These are free employees for us," Frost said. "They are not only reimbursing the cost, but are providing benefits as well."
When the new ambulance rolls on a call, Lane's will bill the same as if it were the regular green and white units.
Frost said when there is a fire call, the ambulance will respond along with the fire trucks. He said Lane's has always responded during a fire, but with the new ambulance, a an extra trained fire fighter will be brought to the scene. When that happens, Lane's shift supervisor also will respond and will take over as the second person on the ambulance when the firefighter/EMT is used for firefighting.
"On Jan. 6 we had a house fire and used the extra guy from the ambulance crew," Frost said.
The new ambulance is blue with a large red fire symbol. It is lettered "Austintown Fire Department-Lane's Life Trans."
While the new ambulance is a welcomed new tool in the township, it also has brought about changes beneficial to another segment of the department. In order to make room for the 24/7 ambulance crew, more sleeping facilities were needed. That change was made by converting the fire inspector's office to a sleeping quarter. The fire inspector, Rick Milliron, was moved to the Westchester Building, next door to the township's zoning office.
"Being next to the township zoning office is a big plus for me," Milliron said. "Zoning Inspector Darren Crivelli and I work hand in hand on zoning issues."
Milliron has more space in the new office to work on inspections.
"My office keeps files on 1,150 businesses in Austintown and we are continuing to grow every day," he said.
He will keep his fire vehicle at the office in case he would need to respond to emergency calls, but most of his work will be inspecting buildings and dealing with the fire code.
Another plus for the new office location is a second room that will be used for records storage. Milliron said the department has records dating back to the 1930s. The used to be stored in a shed at Station One, but the shed was leaking and some of the paperwork was in danger of being destroyed. A local business offered a storage locker to help keep the records safe.
"We checked with the state to see what the time limit is on keeping records," Milliron said. "They told us we have to keep them forever. As our township grows and our records increase, we need to have a proper place to store them."
The second room will be filled with file cabinets and all the department's records can be moved, filed and preserved for the future.