Letter will clarify emergency services for Antioch Township residents
By Diana Kuyper Special to The News-Sun July 8, 2013 8:50PM
Antioch Rescue Squad vehicles parked outside their station on Holbek Drive in Antioch. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 10, 2013 6:09AM
Antioch Township residents will soon receive a letter from First Fire Protection District officials updating them about the status of emergency services.
“Following last week’s confusion with emergency 911 services for the village and township, we wanted to update our residents,” said First Fire District Trustee Matt Tabar. “Antioch Rescue Squad will continue to provide ambulance services for our township citizens who reside outside of the incorporated village limits. As always, just dial 911 if you need medical assistance.”
ARS erroneously published a flyer informing village residents they could still be served by ARS for both emergency and non-emergency medical situations by dialing a different telephone number. Village residents are no longer served by ARS; instead emergency medical services are provided by Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Services operating Advance Life Support (ALS) ambulances staffed daily around the clock from the two village fire stations.
Tabar said the letter clarifies that the township is still served by ARS for all ambulance calls.
A one-year contract with the First Fire District allows ARS to staff station No. 3 on Grass Lake Road in the township and station No. 1 on Holbek Drive in the village 24 hours a day/ seven days a week. There is also summer seasonal and weekend ARS services from station No. 2 on Deep Lake Road in the village.
“911 dispatch will automatically connect with the proper provider and in the case of the need for mutual aid either provider (ARS and Superior) is empowered to assist the other to serve our citizens as quickly as possible,” said Tabar.
“Fire service has not changed and will continue to be provided by the First Fire Protection District and the Antioch Village Fire Department. Again just dialing 911 will dispatch services to you as quickly as possible,” states the letter that is going out this week to First Fire District residents signed by Tabar, Dean Pedersen, president and Secretary/Treasurer Carolyn Van Patten.
“911 is the only emergency number that anyone should ever dial for emergency fire and rescue services, no matter where they live,” confirmed Antioch Mayor Lawrence Hanson.
Meanwhile First Fire Protection District and village officials will meet Wednesday, July 10, at 6:30 p.m. at village hall to continue discussions to combine community fire services. At present, the First Fire District oversees township fire services while the village oversees village services, but both share costs for coverage provided by the Antioch Volunteer Fire Dept.
Tabar said Fire Chief John Nixon’s salary is no longer paid for by the Fire District, and the Fire District is seeking a manager, rather than another chief, who can handle operations, finances, policies and procedures. “We don’t need two chiefs,” said Tabar. “Chief Nixon remains our tactical chief, and we hope this eventually evolves into one operation managed by one chief. That is in everyone’s best interest.”
“The immediate issue is how the village and township work together to provide emergency services,” said Hanson. “In the interest of public safety and finances, we can’t afford to split up, but to move ahead we have to take ARS out of the discussion.”
“ARS is a hot point on which we can’t agree,” said Tabar. “Instead we have to focus on one fire service and from there future emergency medical services will fall into place,” pointing out that the township has a one-year contract with ARS and the village has a six-month contract with Superior. “It makes sense to take the EMS discussion out of the picture, for now.”