MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — After a long battle with the city, the Mattoon Fire Department’s ambulance service ended Wednesday morning.
For about a year, the city has been pushing to get rid of the service. They recently passed a new ordinance that made that happen.
7 a.m. marked the end of the last shift for the fire department’s ambulance service. Now Dunn Ambulance and Mitchell Jerdan Ambulance providers will be taking on all the emergency calls. They’ve provided ambulance response in Mattoon alongside the fire department for years. Both have been on board with this change since the beginning and say they’re prepared to provide for the people in the city without them.
Kendra Jerdan is the manager at Mitchell Jerdan Ambulance. She says, “We are going to continue to do what we have been doing for the past 80 years and continue to service the Mattoon community.”
Mitchell Jerdan has been operating in the tonw since 1934. Since 2010 they, along with Dunn and the fire department, have contracted with the city on a 911 rotation response. Now, the two private companies are taking over.
To meet the need of all the emergency calls, Jerdan says they’ll be upgrading soon. She says, “We’re in the process of getting new ambulances, we are currently hiring, and we upgraded our heart monitors.”
Both ambulance companies say they’re confident they can handle the calls without the fire department. The city said they got rid of it because their service loses money and duplicates the work of the private companies. The fire department argued they made profit and fought against this decision for about a year. But there is one thing they’re ok with.
Bart Owen works for the department and says, “They have made the smart decision, at least, the city council decided to take our advanced life support equipment and move it onto the fire engines.”
If the other two companies don’t have an ambulance available, the fire department can assist in emergency medical response until they get there to transport patients.
The fire department says the licenses for the private companies will expire in December. In October of 2018 the city will accept license applications if other companies want to be considered.