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City-owned ambulance service makes difference

STEUBENVILLE – Having a city-owned ambulance service hasn’t eliminated the need for other communities to help cover medical emergencies in Steubenville, but Fire Chief Carlo Capaldi said it’s already reducing the strain on those agencies.

“We still have to have mutual aid,” Capaldi told council Tuesday night. “As long as we’re only running one ambulance we’re going to need help, and if someone else needs help we’ll go there. That’s how mutual aid works.”

Steubenville Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Service launched at 8 a.m. Sunday, and in its first 60 hours Capaldi said they’d handled nearly 30 calls – 10 on Sunday, 11 Monday and another six or so on Tuesday.

“Those were all calls we didn’t have to run our firetruck to,” he said. “And they were all calls Wintersville didn’t have to cover for us. It seems to be going well.”

Capaldi said 10-11 calls is “kind of busy” when you’re running only one ambulance. “Sooner or later, we’re going to have to get the second ambulance going.”

The city used federal CARES Act dollars to purchase three brand new ambulances, with plans to run two of them and keep the third as a backup.

To that end, Capaldi said he’ll be swearing in three more people – two firefighter/EMTs and a firefighter/paramedic – on Oct. 28, thanks to council signing off on an emergency change in the table of organization.

“Once we get that, we’ll be able to run one ambulance without any overtime,” he said, adding, “All this work went into us getting one ambulance up and running. Now we’ve got to carry the ball forward and get the other one up and running.”

Fifth Ward Councilman Willie Paul congratulated Capaldi and his entire department, also thanking City Manager Jim Mavromatis, Finance Director Dave Lewis, Law Director Costa Mastross, as well as Jefferson County 911 Director and Wintersville Fire Chief Rob Herrington and the city’s mutual aid partners.

“We thought it would take to the end of the year and we have it done by Oct. 18,” Paul said. “We all know we had to do this for the citizens of Steubenville. All of us in this room are very concerned about where we’re going. Without the CARES Act, we probably couldn’t have done half of it.”

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