NEEDED CHANGE — Steubenville Fire Chief Carlo Capadli told city council members Tuesday night that updating the city’s decades-old fire code is critical.
STEUBENVILLE — Anxious as they are to amend the fire code to reflect changes in the emergency services provider network, council members said Tuesday it’s more important that they “get it right.”
“I think we need it done sooner, rather than later,” 5th Ward Councilman Willie Paul said.
Law Director Costa Mastros said the committee will meet again in the near future to go over the existing ordinance and the changes they’d like to see happen to, “make it as bullet proof as we can.”
“We want to get it right, too,” Fire Chief Carlo Capaldi added.
Capaldi said nursing home operators have voiced concern that the new company, successor to Ambulance Service Inc., is trying to force them to sign long-term contracts to provide emergency ambulance services under threat of losing access to non-emergency transport services for their patients.
“One wouldn’t sign,” Capaldi said. “And another signed and tore it up. I think right now, only one (nursing home) in our city signed (the contract).” Steubenville Fire Department EMS is the primary emergency response ambulance service providers within city limits. Emergency calls to the 911 system are automatically routed to SFD EMS unless they’re already on calls, in which case their mutual aid partners are called out.
Wintersville Fire Chief and Jefferson County 911 Director Rob Herrington said that unlike public EMS services, the private carrier doesn’t have to explain what took so long if his response time lags. He also said the private carrier doesn’t guarantee paramedics on each ambulance, and the people answering his phones are more like “telephone operators” interested in patient demographics than they are trained emergency dispatchers trying to “gather information about the emergency.” “Everything we do from the time we take an emergency call in the city is time-stamped,” Herrington added. “It’s all tracked. That’s important because you’re providing a service to your citizens. …We need to make sure there’s accountability for emergency calls — we do that by making sure 911 (handles them).”
Second Ward Councilman Eric Timmons said he was the one who raised concerns several weeks ago that council was “trying to legislate an advantage for the city EMS squad, but they in essence are giving themselves and advantage. It should be level for everyone.” Third Ward Councilman Craig Petrella, meanwhile, thanked Herrington “and the rest of the community that helped us with mutual aid. We couldn’t have done what we did (without them).”
Council also: • *Signed off on emergency resolutions adopting the Jefferson County 2021 Hazard Mitigation Plan and authorizing Mavromatis to apply for and enter into a revolving loan agreement for the West End Water Improvements Project;
“If you could get them in by Oct. 26, and give them to (City Engineer Mike Dolak), he can assess them, see how bad they actually are and get back to us (on which should be done).” Sixth Ward Councilman Bob Villamagna, meanwhile, sunshined a resolution authorizing Municipal Court Judge John Mascio to use CRN Health Care for treatment services and declaring an emergency. He also urged council to gather a list of at least five streets in each of their wards that are “bad and need paved.”