In a 4 to 1 vote, the Rushville City Council approved a city-run ambulance service operated by the Rushville Fire Department expected to begin Jan. 1, 2014. Voting for the measure were Council president Bob Bridges and members Craig Smith, Brad Berkemeier and Brian Conner. Member Brian Sheehan voted nay.
RFD Chief Chuck Jenkins said, prior to the vote and in response to Council questions, “For me, it’s as simple as taking two of my firefighters and putting them in an ambulance.” The fire department already goes out on most ambulance runs and 12 firefighters are certified for basic EMT support; two are qualified for advance support. No additional manpower would be needed to provide basic life support services from an ambulance that would be added at RFD serving city residents with transport to RMH, according to Jenkins.
“The vote … moves the Rushville Fire Department one step closer to providing a quality, cost effective and efficient ambulance service to the citizens of Rushville by using cross-trained dual role firefighters/emts. The citizens of Rushville can expect the same quality service that has been provided to them since 1873. I am looking forward to moving this new service forward in the coming months,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins has visited a number of other fire departments who operate ambulance services throughout the discussion process and has been a proponent of the ambulance service being provided through the Rushville Fire Department for decades.
The revenues would be user-based and Chief Jenkins believes that in one year the city would realize net revenues of $50,000 conservatively.
A number of people who currently work for the ambulance service run by Rush Memorial Hospital were in attendance but did not offer any comment when asked by Council.
The vote follows approximately 18 months of discussions between city, county and hospital officials. While not all are in agreement, Mayor Pavey and other members stressed during the motion process that they intended to be open to continuing discussions with others impacted by the decision.