ST. JOHN TOWNSHIP — The Lake Hills Fire Department now has an advanced life support ambulance in its arsenal.
St. John Township residents will now have access to the same care as surrounding communities, as the fire department moved from a basic to an advanced life support ambulance July 1, Fire Chief Shane Adams said in a news release.
Ambulance service first began in the department in 1993 and was staffed by volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs), Adams said.
Ten years later in 2013, two EMTs began staffing the ambulance during the day Monday through Friday, Adams said.
"We have slowly been adding on shifts and hours throughout the years. We have been working on funding so we could provide advanced life support," Adams said.
Until Lake Hills made the transition earlier this month, the department had to rely on surrounding fire departments for advanced life support, Adams said.
"The surrounding fire departments have done an outstanding job helping us in this capacity, and we would like to thank them for this," he said.
Now, the fire department will have a paramedic and EMT at the fire station 24 hours a day, seven days a week, Adams said, noting both the paramedic and EMT will be certified through the state as firefighters and also will respond to fire calls.
The move was possible through a resolution passed by the St. John Township Board earlier this year, which allotted additional funding every year to help pay for the paramedic and EMT, Adams noted.
"We are very excited and happy to be able to provide this service to our residents," Adams said. "This has been possible due to the overwhelming support by the St. John Township Trustee and Munster Community Hospital."
St. John Township Trustee Cathy Lareau said she and Adams discussed the need for advanced life support when she took office in 2019.
The move required additional funding from the trustee's office, which Lareau said she worked within the current tax rate to provide.
Last year, the fire department was able to begin staffing the fire department 24/7, Lareau said, noting additional funding for fire services also was approved this year.
"Providing the necessary funding to move from basic life support to advanced life support will allow Lake Hills Fire Department to provide more excellent service and care to the St. John Township residents," Lareau said in a press release.