Omaha Fire Department to end free ambulance standby service

  • Source: omaha world-herald
  • Published: 09/24/2015 12:00 AM

School districts in Omaha will have to pay for ambulances at high school football games next year because of a policy change by the Omaha Fire Department. On Jan. 1, the department will end its free standby ambulance service at varsity games and other events, Fire Chief Bernie Kanger said Tuesday. The chief said he’s looking for ways to make his department more efficient and has to put 911 calls ahead of the standby service. Districts that want to continue having ambulances at games will have to either contract with a private ambulance company or with the Fire Department, he said. The change will affect the Millard, Omaha, Elkhorn and Westside districts. Kanger said hiring a private ambulance, staffed by a paramedic and emergency medical technician, could cost less than a couple of hundred dollars per game. Paying for a department ambulance would cost more because it would be staffed by two off-duty paramedics and would involve overtime. It would cost around $180 an hour, he said. The department has provided standby service for 10 years, he said. It receives five or six requests to staff games every Friday, he said. So far this year, the department has staffed 39 games, he said. If a 911 call comes in, ambulances on standby must leave the stadium unattended, he said. “There’s nobody there providing coverage because we’ve left,” he said. “That’s not a good model. And that’s not the model that other cities use.” Ambulances at Lincoln games are provided by Midwest Medical Transport. The company has assisted in Omaha by working at games in the Millard and Westside districts. Kanger said he can’t accommodate the rising demand for standby services while keeping up with calls for service. Requests for standby service have gone beyond varsity football games, he said. “They started to ask us to do scrimmages. Then they wanted us to do JV games. Then we were getting calls to do polar plunges, triathlons, 5-K runs, youth soccer events,” he said. “We can’t do that, we don’t have the resources. “I can’t in good conscience say yes to one group and no to another.”


We welcome comments from registered users. Comments are solely the responsibility of those who post them; their viewpoints are not endorsed by the Daily Dispatch and (read more)
ship name
no comments have been added

Sign up to subscribe to custom state Daily Dispatch emails for free

click to subscribe