WATCH: Northern Tazewell, Washington Fire to discuss upgraded ambulance service

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WASHINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Starting Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Northern Tazewell Fire Protection District (NTFPD) will contract with the Washington Fire Department (WFD) for ambulance service.

The district will still provide fire and rescue service staffed with volunteers.

“We’re going to be able to provide advance life support service, paramedic level service when somebody calls 911 to all the residents down in this area,” said Washington Fire Chief Brett Brown.

The announcement will come on Monday through a press conference held at the Washington Fire Department held at 10 a.m.

A press release said the change was created over several weeks. NTFPD was looking to bring Advanced Life Support (ALS) service to neighbors with every call they received instead of needing to wait for a separate ambulance to arrive.

“It costs us less money to contract with them than what we were paying to keep the rescue squad open. So this gets ALS service to all the residents of the city and the county we cover,” said trustee Jim Campbell.

WFD officials said they wanted to add ambulance capacity as having a 24-hour ambulance would “meet their needs and provide additional opportunities to meet a growing need outside the city.”

Moving forward, a second Washington ambulance will be housed at the Northern Tazewell location on Crestlawn, specifically serving the Northern Tazewell district and far west side of Washington.

“Staffing and paying for a full-time ambulance in a mostly rural district has been a challenge,” said Northern Tazewell Trustee Jim Campbell. “Without a call load to pay the staff, we’ve been pulling funding from fire protection side, and that just doesn’t help anybody. With Washington, we bring ALS directly to our residents’ doors without delay.”

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