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Organizers of ambulance service reflect

STEUBENVILLE — In its first year of operation, Steubenville Fire Department’s EMS responded to 3,784 calls for assistance, Chief Carlo Capaldi said Monday.

“Most of that we did with one ambulance running a day,” he said. “Only recently have we been running two.”

He said the crew averaged 10.36 calls per day, “and we were still sending two or three calls out a day for mutual aid, which wasn’t bad.”

“We cut way down on that,” he added. “Before we started up our fire-based ambulance system, mutual aid was coming in 8-10 times a day. We cut it way down. And now that we’re running a second ambulance, it’s going down even more.”

Capaldi said over the past year he’s had two people earn their Advanced EMT designation and a third just passed his paramedic test, “so we’re already adding advanced personnel.”

“These are people we’d already hired,” he said, “but they trained for higher certifications.”

He also hired six people, “and we’re still looking to hire three more — which would get us to where we could run a second ambulance every day, 24/7. Right now, we’re running it between 25 percent and 50 percent of the time.”

“We’ve come a long way in a year,” Capaldi added. “The employees we have have been doing a great job. Without the employees we have we couldn’t do it. Without everyone working together we couldn’t do it.”

Revenues have also outstripped projections, he said.

“It allows us to do what we’re doing, we’re not having to worry about looking for extra money,” he said, pointing out that they have three ambulances — one running all the time, one running occasionally and one held in reserve. He said if they start running two ambulances non-stop, they’ll need another ambulance to hold in reserve.

“We were pretty confident we could do it, pretty confident it would work,” he said. “But we had no history, no revenue history, we had never done this before. We had no history to go from. We felt we could do it with the right equipment and manpower, but without (it), it would be hard to prove.”

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