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Does the long awaited and much touted ambulance service make sense?

Years in the making, the city’s ambulance service dream remains just that, a dream, with the ambulance out of service for months to come.

By Josh Resnek

Last year, there were approximately 1800 calls for medical aid in the city of Everett answered by the local fire department and the Cataldo Ambulance Service.

Lives were saved. Emergencies were solved. The services worked the way they are supposed to work, that is, Everett fire apparatus accompanied by Cataldo ambulances responded to every call.

Several years back, the former fire chief and others all agreed, it would be a better thing for public safety if the if the city put into service its own ambulance response team.

To this end, the city embarked on a program more than two years ago to hire and to train more firefighters as EMT’s and bought a costly ambulance.

Now, several years have passed.

The hype and hope for a new ambulance service with all the bells and whistles are in a fire fighter’s union induced limbo.

Negotiations for a new contract go on and on, seemingly with no end in sight, as we have been told by the fire chief and the mayor’s chief of staff.

Meanwhile, about 60 firefighters have been trained or have already been trained and certified to ride in city ambulances.

The city ambulance remains out of service inside a fire station.

Some grumbling among the people has been heard recently at city council meetings discussing the matter.

Both the fire chief and the mayor’s chief of staff have given exhausting answers to such questions raised about when the ambulance would be operating and to what extent it will be able to respond to the city’s needs as Cataldo presently responds.

Councilor Al Lattanzi has already told his colleagues at a city council meeting he hopes the city can buy and put into operation a second ambulance.

A second ambulance would cause the likely need of dozens more firefighters to operate it.

The cost for a second ambulance would probably be in the $1 million range give or take a few hundred thousand dollars.

Is this the chief question or is it not and why hasn’t this aspect of the new ambulance service been discussed at length?

Why does the city needs its own ambulance service when Cataldo effectively answers every call flawlessly every time?

What advantage is there to the city running an extremely labor intensive, equipment intensive, risk intensive public safety operation when the city has an ambulance service doing the job – and doing it quite efficiently and well?

This question has not been asked in public hearings.

As time goes by and the new ambulance is already growing older sitting unused in a fire station here, maybe this question should be asked and answered?

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