Streator firefighters union says it wants to provide city’s ambulance service

Union says it can provide the most efficient service to city

The Streator firefighters union says it wants the city of Streator to increase the fire department staff to provide the city’s 911 ambulance service.

The firefighters union released the statement Friday on its Facebook page, with the message “if you believe like we do let’s talk about it as a community so we can work together to make what we believe a reality for the citizens of Streator.”

After Advanced Medical Transport, the city’s 911 ambulance service provider, gave the city a June deadline to decide whether it would retain its services, the Streator firefighters union asked City Manager David Plyman to allow the union to provide a proposal to the city.

Plyman has been meeting with the Streator firefighters union in closed session meetings, because details of arrangements involve collective bargaining with the union. The city manager has said the fire department remains an option for ambulance services, along with private ambulance companies. The city intends to take bids for services next week from private ambulance companies. Plyman said Wednesday, however, some details need to be worked out in collective bargaining before utilizing the fire department can be a viable option for the city.

AMT asked the city to contribute $400,000 for the first year, $500,000 the second year, $600,000 the third year and $700,000 the fourth year to continue providing service in the city. AMT has provided the Streator area with 911 paramedic ambulance service since 2004. In that time, the city has not contracted with or compensated AMT for the services.

Streator firefighters already respond to EMS calls for assistance, including all life-threatening calls, as well as other non-life threatening items.

The recent collective bargaining agreement with the city of Streator established a $2,000 annual stipend for firefighters who achieve EMT-B or higher certification. The Streator firefighters union said on its Facebook page, there are two paramedics, four EMTs, and eight first responders, along with three first responders planning on becoming EMTs on staff.

“We have worked to obtain licensing and trained to improve our skills so that we can provide the best quality EMS care to the citizens of Streator,” the Streator Firefighters union said in its statement. “We believe the best decision for the citizens of Streator is for the city to obtain operational control of the ambulance service in the city of Streator.”

On Wednesday, the Streator City Council voted 3-1 against providing the city manager the authority to buy two refurbished ambulances. Plyman requested the council give him permission to buy two ambulances not to exceed $200,000 apiece. Council members said they needed more information from Plyman before moving forward on the roughly $400,000 purchase. Streator has not received any bids for service from ambulance providers as of yet, or heard what it may cost for the fire department to provide ambulance service. Plyman has said he will present all these options to the city in June meetings.

Plyman said the ambulance purchases would have sped up the time it takes the city to complete the regulatory process to handle emergency ambulance billing in-house. The city also would need to acquire equipment and vehicles if it were to choose the fire department to provide ambulance services. AMT has said it will close in October, unless the city retains its services. With supply-chain issues for emergency vehicles, acquiring a new ambulance takes one to two years, and while the city is seeking a refurbished vehicle, the demand for new vehicles has made it more challenging to find restored ones.