Antioch officials have hired Superior Air-Ground Ambulance Service to handle emergency rescue calls in the village for the next six months.
Superior replaces Antioch Rescue Squad, which severed its long -- and recently strained -- relationship with the village last month. Antioch Rescue Squad will continue to respond to emergency calls in Antioch Township.
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First Fire Protection District of Antioch Chief John Nixon admitted there may be some confusion for residents living in and near Antioch on which emergency rescue crews will arrive when they call.
"People want to make sure that, when they dial 9-1-1, the big red trucks will come," Nixon said. "Our job is, and will continue to be, to make sure that residents receive the best rescue service available."
Under the village contract, which begins June 1, state-certified emergency medical technicians from Superior will work 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week at Antioch fire stations 1 and 2, he said. When this contract expires, it could renewed or the fire district could bring in its own ambulances and EMTs, officials have said.
Antioch Rescue Squad has a separate one-year contract with the fire district to cover Antioch Township.
"No one should see any difference of any kind in service from one to the other," Nixon said. "It should be seamless for everyone in need of medical services."
Dispatchers at CENCOM in Round Lake have received training and are up to speed on the changes, he said. He added Computer Aided Dispatch will continue to determine which agency handles rescue calls.
"It's not like the old days where 15 different agencies head to a fire and fight over who should put it out," Nixon said. "The computer will automatically dispatch the appropriate department to the scene."
In addition, he said, two of the three fire stations in Antioch will house ambulances from both Superior and the Antioch Rescue Squad.
The third station is located outside of the village corporate limits and will house ambulances from the Antioch Rescue Squad only.
"Our intent is to make sure no one will notice any difference in service at all," he said.
Nixon said he is still working out the details toward a major move that could, potentially, lead to the consolidation of rescue services and the fire district into one agency.
"It's not a simple process because it will require an overhaul in the way we currently do business," he said. "But it's being explored and studied."
He said the study is expected to take about a year.