Derry officials considering new ambulance contract with Chester and Auburn
DERRY — Town Council is scheduled to consider a new, five-year contract for the fire department to continue to provide ambulance service to the towns of Chester and Auburn tonight.
Over that time, the annual fee paid by those towns to Derry would increase by nine percent per year. In addition to yearly payments, there are also fees paid to Derry for each patient the fire department transports, according to Derry Fire Chief George Klauber.
The annual payments range from $57,302 for the current fiscal year to $83,896 for fiscal year 2018.
“The Derry Fire Department has been providing medical transport services to the town of Chester since taking over those services from Peabody Funeral Home in the 1970s,” said Klauber. “We have contracted with the town of Auburn since 1990. The services are provided without additional staffing or equipment.”
Klauber said the dispatch protocols used to determine which ambulances respond to Chester and Auburn are the same as those used in Derry.
The initial ambulance dispatched for medical aid calls in Chester responds from the Island Pond station and the initial ambulance dispatched to medical aid calls in Auburn responds from the English Range station.
The Derry Fire Department operates four ambulances in the town, with one ambulance assigned to each of its stations. The ambulance at the central fire station on East Broadway has two firefighters/EMS personnel assigned to it each shift, while the other three ambulances are cross-staffed with personnel who are also assigned to an engine, rescue, tanker or ladder truck, according to Klauber.
“Ambulance services provided to Auburn and Chester do not negatively impact the service provided to residents, businesses and visitors in Derry,” said Klauber. “We still require the same number of ambulances and personnel to adequately service Derry even if we don’t service Chester and Auburn.”
In fiscal year 2012, the Derry Fire Department transported 151 patients from Auburn and 116 patients from Chester.
“Additionally, the town of Chester has purchased an ambulance and staffs it on a part-time basis,” said Klauber. “The revenues associated with the Chester Fire Department providing some emergency transport are recognized and included in the contract with the town of Derry.”