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Massachusetts Town Scrambles To Select Ambulance Company

DUNSTABLE -- After scrambling for months to find an ambulance company that is willing to serve Dunstable, the town now has a contract with Trinity EMS.



Trinity EMS began responding to emergency medical calls in Dunstable earlier this month, replacing Patriot Ambulance that previously provided the service in town. According to Selectman Walter Alterisio, the town began looking for a new company in April when Dracut issued a request for proposals for ambulance service. For the past night years, Dracut, Dunstable and Tyngsboro had a tri-town agreement with Patriot, but Dracut officials didn't remember that when deciding to seek bids in hopes of saving money, Alterisio said.



Tyngsboro also called for bids. Patriot then told Dunstable that it would not be economically feasible for them to provide service in Dunstable unless Tyngsboro chooses the company, Alterisio said.



Dunstable, which has a population of about 3,000, has only 85 or fewer medical calls per year. The small number of calls has made it impossible for the town to attract an ambulance company on its own, Alterisio said.



"Over time, people just lost the sense of how ambulance service is operating and on what terms," Alterisio said of the other towns' move to seek bids. "We were kind of scrambling not knowing what we should do."



When Tyngsboro selected Trinity, Dunstable officials negotiated with the company and reached an agreement to provide the service in town. Now that the Lowell-based company has a facility over the town line on Progress Avenue in Tyngsboro, it made sense for Trinity to extend the service to Dunstable, Alterisio said. The company's agreement with Tyngsboro and Dunstable will run through August 2013. It does not cost the town any money to have Trinity provide service in town as the company directly charges fees to patients, according to Alterisio.



Trinity, which has 250 employees, provides service across the Greater Merrimack Valley and Southern New Hampshire, and responded to 70,000 calls during the 2009 calendar year.



"We are truly excited to have Tyngsboro and Dunstable join the Trinity family," said Trinity President John Chemaly in the press release.



Patriot provided service in Dunstable until Trinity took over. The town's firefighters are also EMTs, and if there ever needs to be additional help, mutual aid is available, Alterisio said. He added that, like many other communities in the region, Dunstable has always used and will continue to use Saints Medical Center's ambulance service for medical calls that require advanced life support.



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