The Fort Wayne Fire Department (FWFD) today announced it will pursue becoming the operator of local ambulance services to enhance emergency medical services (EMS) to the public.
The FWFD has been assisting in providing emergency care for 30 years and is part of the fabric of emergency services in Fort Wayne. The decision to pursue the operation of ambulance services is to provide better response times to save lives and the most efficient care possible.
Fort Wayne firefighters respond to over 8,000 EMS calls per year and are first on the scene of emergency situations more than 75 percent of the time. Placing ambulance services under the direction of the FWFD would result in a paramedic on every fire engine allowing for advanced life support to be at an emergency scene sooner. In addition, the change would maximize productivity and better utilize the resources the FWFD has to meet the needs of the community. This year alone, the FWFD has successfully reversed 89 heroin overdoses all before an ambulance arrived on the scene.
“A commitment to the safety of residents is critical as we work each day to serve and protect Fort Wayne,” said Fire Chief Eric Lahey. “It’s important to continue to improve services provided to the public. It’s clear that having the FWFD lead emergency services will position us to provide enhanced and more efficient care to those in need of emergency medical attention.”
The FWFD would provide services to all of Allen County and assume control of all Three Rivers Ambulance Authority (TRAA) equipment and assets. TRAA would be dissolved and current employees of TRAA and Paramedics Plus would be offered positions with the FWFD.
The first step in the process is for the City of Fort Wayne to enter into a cooperation agreement with Allen County to place county-wide ambulance services under the direction of the FWFD. If that agreement is achieved, an ordinance to approve the FWFD-based ambulance system would be submitted to City Council for approval.
If approved, the FWFD would begin the new model effective July 1, 2018. The time leading up to the change in operations would be focused on transitioning staff, billing system integration, and continued coordination with local health care providers.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for the Fort Wayne Fire Department to lead the efforts to increase the level of service and care being provided to residents in emergency situations,” said Lahey. “Our firefighters are ready for this challenge and will continue to display the professionalism and dedication that make our department unique and successful.”