With Siouxland Paramedics set to cease operations January 1, local emergency services are scrambling to continue ambulance service to their community.
North Sioux City depends on Siouxland Paramedics for 911 ambulance service, so city leaders must now find alternatives to keep people safe in emergency situations after December 31.
North Sioux City Fire Chief Bill Pappas says S-P-I provides ambulance service for about 350 people in North Sioux City each year. The city is looking at several options. We are checking out several avenues and one of them is to contract with Sioux City Fire Rescue to continue the paramedic service like we had before," said Pappas. "If nothing else we will do our own basic transports."
The city of Sioux City is also looking for options. "It's created a lot of stress and I think some frustration," said Sioux City Fire Chief Tom Everett.
On Monday night, Sioux City City Council voted 3-1 to approve a civilian paramedic and ambulance division of the Sioux City Fire Department.
The fire department will hire 27 employees to fill the new section of the fire rescue team.
Finding the personnel will be no simple task. The position comes with residential restrictions. "If you live in another state or far away and you have to make a decision whether or not you're going to move within ten miles of Sioux City and the state of Iowa to keep a job, that's a pretty tough decision for some of those people to make," said Everett.
And, fire officials don't have much time to be picky. They have to be fully staffed before Siouxland Paramedics and the city of Sioux City's contract ends on December 31. "The time frame we have for January 1 to get this whole thing put into place is pretty phenomenal and at least we know which direction we're headed," said Everett.
Their eyes are set on some familiar faces. Siouxland Paramedics employees, who will have to give up the name, but still have the will to serve. "They're excited to come to work for us," said Everett. "Obviously, we work with them every day in the streets so we know these people. We're part of their family and they're part of ours."