CHILLICOTHE - Rescue 33, the suspended Chillicothe based ambulance provider, says it has a plan that would make it better than ever, if the unit is allowed to return.
Thursday, the service provider shared its plans for reinstatement with more than one hundred people at Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe.
The unit lost its license in September, mainly due to slow response times, and was asked to submit a plan for improvement to the Peoria Area Emergency Services System.
Rescue 33 President Ron Hedden says that plan includes having one ambulance and two paid EMTs on site at all times. Two volunteers would be on call to back up paid staff.
The ambulance unit would also start charging a fee. For more than 40 years of service, the ambulance provider has depended on fundraising. Now, it expects to charge an estimated $600 dollars per call to support nearly $100,000 per year cost of running the unit.
The city is being asked to give a recommendation for either Rescue 33 or the Advanced Medical transport of Central Illinois, the ambulance provider currently serving the area since Rescue 33's suspension. AMT offers advanced life support service, which includes paramedics and more training than basic life support status of Rescue 33.
But Hedden argues residents would pay much less if served by Rescue 33. Also, he says most of the medical calls do not require paramedics and could be handled just as well with a basic life support service provider. Plus, Hedden says Rescue 33 plans to transition into an advanced life support system in five years, hopefully.
Most people in attendance were in strong support for the embattled Rescue 33. The city is expected to discuss and possibly vote on a choice late-January. A petition on behalf of Rescue 33 is currently circulating throughout Chillicothe. Hedden hopes the community has the final say.
"We would prefer it would be Ambulance Rescue 33. We cannot offer you paramedics right now, but we can offer you quicker service. And we can offer it to you as cheap as we can," he said.