AMR stopping service in two Niagara County towns

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WKBW) - Rural/Metro, which has been acquired by AMR, is pulling service out of the Town of Niagara and the Town of Wheatfield.

"Yesterday morning when I got into work I received a letter from them, it was dated I believe Thursday of the previous week," said Lee Wallace the supervisor for the Town of Niagara. "It said they were terminating our contract within 30 days."

Wallace said the town gets more than 1,000 calls for ambulance service a year. The Regional Director for AMR Thomas Maxian said the company responds to less than that between both towns.

"We're looking at a total of about 600 transports," said Maxian.

Wallace said the town was in the middle of negotiating a new contract with AMR. He said at a meeting with the company last month there was no indication about the change.

"The individuals that I met with from AMR were very cordial as far as trying to get a contract with us and trying to improve response times," said Wallace.

"I can't speak to what happened before I got appointed to the position," said Maxian who started in the beginning of June.

AMR will stop service with both towns by the middle of next month but they'll still serve a portion of Niagara County.

"We're are going to continue to serve Niagara Falls, which is about 10,000 calls per year," said Maxian. "We're going to serve Niagara Falls Memorial and St. Mary's in the Village of Lewiston."

Wallace says the challenge in finding a new provider is the 30 day window and lack of options.

"There's realy only three or four in this area and most of the others I reached out to said 'we're just stretched too thin,'" said Wallace.

Maxian said the fire departments can help pick up the calls. 

"Every fire department that has an ambulance in Niagara County is a certified ambulance and has an operating certificate," said Maxian. "All of those companies are able to step in this situation."

That's not an option for the Town of Niagara because it operates with a volunteer fire company that can't afford to provide both services.

"The mandates and the training that's required now makes it almost impossible for the fire companies to do it," said Wallace.

AMR says the change is for the better.

"We are literally giving up transports and giving up revenue to better serve the customers to whom we've made these large commitments," said Maxian. 

The Town of Niagara is currently looking for a company to replace AMR.

 

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