NORWICH – On Wednesday, the Norwich Common Council convened to discuss changes to their ambulance service's mutual aid agreement, and options for providing coverage going forward.
In March, Norwich officials announced the Norwich Fire Department would no longer be able to provide ambulance coverage past its certified areas starting April 1.
For years the Norwich Fire Department, the only paid fire service in the county, has been filling a gap in local ambulance coverage as other volunteer departments and for-profit ambulance services have struggled to meet local demand. Many remote areas have become dependent on Norwich providing this extra coverage over the years.
The recent change in the city's policy to more strictly follow its own contracted limits, is forcing a reckoning throughout the county's entire emergency response system.
This has led some in the community to express concern, making the mutual aid agreement the sole topic on the agenda at Wednesday’s meeting.
“We stopped responding outside of our CON (certificate of need) area if we have a call anyplace else within the county, which was typically in our own district. And then we had planned on April 1, to just stop responding outside of our CON area completely,” said Fire Chief Jan Papelino.