Mattoon Fire Department news (more)

Excerpts from

Medical calls Thursday evening and an accident Friday afternoon resulted in Mattoon emergency personnel calling in ambulances from out of town for help with patient care and transport. This comes after the Mattoon Fire Department’s ambulance service ended July 25 in a move directed by the city council that drew criticism in the community. The council has cited budget concerns for the decision.

“We were short ambulances,” MFD Chief Tony Nichols said Friday. Thursday night, as well, a shortage of ambulances to cover Mattoon was seen, according to Nichols. “CFD had to come over cover for Dunn’s two times. They were both medicals. I don’t know the severity of them,” he said. “They did dispatch our ALS engines out. We were able to respond and start care until CFD arrived and then they took over.”

Greg Jerdan, owner of Mitchell-Jerdan Ambulance Service said finding personnel is not a problem for his service. “This morning for a couple-hour period we were down to one ambulance,” Jerdan said Friday. “We were fully staffed at that time. We are fully staffed and for the next coming two-week period in our staffing time we’re a minimum of two ambulances or three deep. “Today there was a two-hour period when we were down to one rig and on a rare occasion that’s what happens and that’s what did happen — that’s what mutual aid is for.”

Jerdan, said the auto accident occurred during a time when Mitchell-Jerdan was temporarily short staffed.

“We are not on 911 this week,” he said, explaining that this means Dunn’s is first to be called out for a 911 call on Mitchell-Jerdan’s off week, and vice versa. “Every other week is rotated between Dunn’s and us. We were only short-staffed for a period of a few hours under a rare situation (and) something happened beyond our control,” Jerdan said. “This is not a situation that is common. Since the City of Mattoon has gotten out of the ambulance business, I believe the events have been very calm and handled quite properly.”

“If it’s not going to be able to be handled (by two private ambulance services), then we have some options of either requiring a certain number of ambulances every day or opening up a third ambulance service,” City Administrator Kyle Gill said. “I hope this is just a growing pain. The ordinance that we passed does not say how many ambulances they have to run on a daily basis. It’s all on performance. Of course the less ambulances they have available, the performance is going to go down.”

“Some of the things that happened I’m still looking into,” he said. “The bad car accident … there was three people that needed to be transported so it took three ambulances, that way Charleston had to get pulled over. That’s not what we want to see happen of course. We don’t want that to continue.”

Mattoon emergency services requesting aid from other communities is not unprecedented.”There’s always been times when other agencies would come over even when we had three ambulances,” Gill said. “There are times when everything happens all at once; we just don’t want that to be a common occurrence.

Bart Owen, president of Mattoon Firefighters Local 691, said there is a need for more ambulances than are now running in Mattoon.

thanks Dennis

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  • #1 by FFPM571 on August 13, 2018 - 9:31 PM

    Its all politics…

  • #2 by Old Timer on August 13, 2018 - 8:27 AM

    History repeating itself
    When I started in the fire service the ambulances were private. Response time was always 10 to 15 minutes, which meant 20 to 40 minutes. Slowly the fire depts added ambulances, Emts, then paramedics to their staff, and a good mutual aid program to back each other.
    Private ambulance companies are in business to make money and run the most calls with the least amount of overhead.
    It is not fair for other fire depts to provide mutual aid when you can’t reciprocate. Not the FD’s fault, the village administration’s fault.

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