By SHERIDAN CYR
The Southington Town Council unanimously voted to approve a new three-year contract with American Medical Response (AMR), which has met the council’s request for additional services. Southington will gain a first responder vehicle.
The Town of Southington previously had two full-time ambulances that provided service around the clock, and one part-time ambulance that served Southington for 40 hours per week. The part-time ambulance is dedicated strictly to Southington, on weekdays, during “peak hours” from noon to 8 p.m.
AMR monitors emergency calls and locations, and sends its ambulances where they are needed, so the two full-time ambulances for Southington may not always be the same two cars, but the part-time ambulance remains in town.
After the council’s vote on July 23, Southington has gained a first responder vehicle, which is not a transport vehicle but is staffed with trained medical employees who can address medical calls on the scene.
“This contract, with no cost to our town, is an example of AMR’s dedication to the Town of Southington,” said council chair Chris Palmieri (D) in a press release. “We look forward to another three years of the excellent service that AMR provides.”
In 2017, there were over 5,500 calls to which AMR responded to in Southington. Shane Lockwood, director of health with the Plainville-Southington Regional Health District, and chair of the emergency medical service (EMS) committee, said the number of calls is monitored by the oversight committee on a monthly basis. The committee discusses ways to better manage calls and how to best respond to the emergency calls made by Southington residents.
The statistics collected were discussed in negotiations with AMR through the Town Council, who ultimately agreed to provide a first responder vehicle as part of their contract agreement with the town. The contract is reviewed and updated every three years.
“I think this contract has been fair to AMR and to the town in the past,” said Lockwood at the July 23 council meeting.
The contract states that the AMR vehicle has to respond within 7:59 for a priority one call, and within 13:59 for a priority two call. In Southington, the average response time is 6:42 for priority one calls, and 9:09 for priority two calls.
The EMS committee meets on a quarterly basis during the year, but any calls that have a response time of over 150 percent longer than required must be reported to Lockwood within 10 days.
“I think the Town Council and AMR worked hard on this contract to provide what is best for the residents and visitors of Southington,” said Lockwood. “All involved should be proud, and commended.”
Regional Manager of AMR, Robert Retallick, praised the members of the Ton Council for their attention to this contract.
“It was a pleasure to work with all members of the Town Council on this contract and we look forward to extending our relationship for another three years,” said Retallick in a press release.
Palmieri also thanked AMR for their participation in many town-wide events, and for their continued sponsorship of the annual Apple Harvest Festival.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.