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Rural Metro makes its case for continued ambulance service

Chris Caya/WBFO News

With its contract in the City of Buffalo set to expire in June, Rural Metro Medical Services is defending its ambulance service.About two dozen of the company's employees turned out for a hearing in Council Chambers Tuesday after concerns were raised over ambulance response times.

Rural Metro Regional Director Jay Smith says the company is proud of its service in Buffalo. He says the current contract is not based on response time, rather it's based on level of care.

"Our focus is not on getting the closest ambulance to the call, it's on getting the right level of provider to the call," Smith says.

"It's a very dynamic system. It takes a lot of effort to make sure that we're responding to the right calls with the right people, and doing that in a timely fashion," Smith added. "The new contract parameters call for some changes. We've agreed to meet those standards."

In a news release, Rural Metro says the system ensures patients requiring the highest level of care receive it immediately and average response time to advanced life support calls is seven minutes, "well within clinically recommended time."

Mayor Byron Brown says a committee is reviewing bids for the ambulance contract and a recommendation will be made shortly.