Committee OKs Fire Department’s Ambulance Request

OSWEGO, NY – At its meeting Monday night, the administrative Services Committee gave the green light to renting an ambulance from May through July.

The rental period would cover some of the Port City’s busiest times, according to Jeff McCrobie, fire chief.

The cost of the rental is $250 per day. But unlike last year, when the agreement was for just the four days of Harborfest, this pact would be for more than two months.

For two months, they could have it for $2,000, the chief told the committee. The bulk of the rental would be reimbursed through Harborfest at whatever rate the city and festival agree on, the chief said.

Included in the timeframe of this deal are a number of special events for which the ambulance can be utilized.

“We intended to staff these events and utilize 1873 (the department’s pickup truck) as an ALS response. We can now use the ambulance as a transporting unit providing better coverage as well as a source of revenue,” the chief told the committee.

“To me it’s a real good thing. We’re covered from May 5 through July 30. You’ve got the Bridge Street Run, Tri Oswego, Paddle Fest and Harborfest in that timeframe,” he pointed out. “I think the fee for Harborfest should go up because it’s because of them that it needs to be raised.”

He suggested charging Harborfest $1,300, leaving the city to make up the other $700.

“Can’t Menter (Ambulance) do that, Harborfest?” Councilor Shawn Walker asked.

Menter is already used during the festival, McCrobie replied.

Walker said he knew the city would be reimbursed, but does that include the personal services, retirement and everything else for the ambulance crew, he asked.

If firefighters are riding around on the ambulance from May through July, that’s where the cost would add up, according to Councilor Bill Barlow.

“The cost is the people. If you don’t have the ambulance, you don’t need to pay the people to ride the ambulance,” he said.

“The Harborfest overtime has already been set aside. Nobody’s going to be riding around in this ambulance from May to July. We keep our two ambulances, except for special events that it would be used for,” McCrobie said.

The department has staff set for the Bridge Street Run, two paramedics and a pickup truck (which can’t be used to transport). The rented ambulance would generate revenue by transporting patients.

“I would guess that based on other years of the Bridge Street Run, we will make that $700 before midnight. The guys are going to be paid anyway. They are already assigned, it’s a busy night,” the chief explained.

“We only have two ambulances on duty now and that’s all we’re going to have. We’re not talking about additional staff,” Councilor Ron Kaplewicz added.

Having the extra ambulance will also allow time for preventive maintenance on the department’s other rigs, the chief pointed out.

“It is our intention to schedule preventative maintenance on our two ambulances during this time. Along with unscheduled breakdowns, this will save us a loss of revenue,” McCrobie said. “The second ambulance takes approximately 20 percent of our calls and when forced to have an ambulance down for repairs, we lose more than $1,000 a day in revenue.”

Councilor Fran Enwright said he didn’t see this as firefighters getting overtime, this could be done on straight time, he said.

The committee forwarded the request to the full council for consideration.

1 Comment

  1. What our Common Council needs to get through their heads is the fact this city NEEDS at LEAST 3 Ambulances.

    I had a Heart Attack last August and my wife calls 911. OFD responded with a truck and started treatment right away, but both the City rigs were tied up (one of which was in Syracuse on a transport run) and both Menter rigs in Oswego were on calls as well.

    The Paramedics on the truck did a great job, but they were increasingly getting upset as a rig was dispatched from FULTON and they had to wait and 15 Minutes later, Menter pulled up and the Driver was complaining he couldn’t find our place.

    I was then transported to St. Joe’s, and the Doctor there was quite P.O.’d at the time it took between the call to 911 and me getting there.

    Not only did the City lose $2,000 on that run, but my life was in the Balance.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE! I pray you NEVER have to go through this, but perhaps if you did, you would think a bit differently about having another Rig.

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