LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) — Lockport residents know who will answer their calls for help after Twin City Ambulance notified the city it’s stepping back service.
The Lockport Fire Department will now take over as the primary provider for the city. A resolution was passed by a 4-3 vote with Mayor Michelle Roman casting the deciding vote. Three alderman voted affirmative, two voted in opposition and another abstained, which counts as a ‘nay’ vote, according to Council President Paul Beakman.
“In the end, we did the right thing and we are going back into the ambulance business,” Council President Beakman said.
The Lockport Fire Department was the primary emergency service provider until 2014 when the city contracted out to Twin City Ambulance.
Twin City sent a letter to the common council in early December saying the company was reducing ambulatory services to the city, meaning the common council needed to put the city’s fleet on the street or contract out to another private company.
12/6/2022 Letter received in Clerks Office from Twin City Ambulance (TCA), serving as aLockport Common Council Dec. 7, 2022 Meeting Minutes
conditional notice of intent to cease services as the City of Lockport’s primary ambulance
supplier effective 11:59 pm on January 31, 2023.
“We’ve got a local hospital. We’ve got several volunteer companies. We’ll definitely have a presence in this area. Essentially the change is we will not be the primary provider of ambulance service in the city going forward,” Terry Clark, president of Twin City Ambulance, said.
Twin City President Terry Clark says the two ambulances from the city will make an immediate impact. Faced with staff shortages, Twin City will be able to continue service to other areas in Niagara County and Western New York.
South Lockport Fire Chief Chris McClune says he is happy the city is putting ambulances back on the streets, which will take the burden off other agencies.
“The resources are here. We have the largest paramedic pool in Western New York. With them not taking patients to the hospital and being able to build that revenue for the city, this is the right decision,” Chief McClune said.
The common council chambers was filled with residents, hoping to share their thoughts on the matter. The waiting crowd grew restless at times as the common council spent more than an hour behind closed doors hashing out details.
“It was the appropriate thing to do to keep these conversations going and in doing so, it led to the right decision being made,” Council President Beakman added.
Beakman hopes the two city ambulances are in service within two months. He says the fire department must have state approval and some new equipment before the service can resume.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.