Ambulance shortage not a crisis yet, Mayor says

NORWICH – Local emergency squads will have to pick up an added 2,000 to 2,500 county-wide 911 calls annually after Superior Ambulance leaves the area Oct. 25, according to figures from the county Fire Coordinator’s office.

That’s not counting all of Superior’s hospital-to-hospital transports, either.

County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Decker will be presenting a list of short-term solutions to the shortage next Tuesday to the full board.

The list, which officials would not provide Tuesday, was reportedly created by County Fire Coordinator Matt Beckwith, who says he’s been working with the state Department of Health to come up with feasible ideas.

The county-wide ambulance shortage began in January when Superior cut its local operation by two-thirds, citing a lack of profitable business.

A declining number of available volunteer firefighters and EMTs during peak day and evening hours has been cited as the underlying problem for townships outside of Norwich.

The ambulance shortage, while increasing workloads for area ambulance crews, hasn’t reached crisis mode yet, says City of Norwich Mayor Joseph Maiurano.

City officials have expressed concern that Norwich – soon to be the only 24-hour paid ambulance service in the county – would take the bulk of the calls normally handled by Superior, saying the burden would increase costs to taxpayers and decrease the emergency services they pay for.

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