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Bossier City looking at adding ambulance and 10 crew members

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Bossier City is looking at adding another ambulance and crew to its rotation.

The Bossier City Council will vote next week to approve a resolution that would hire 10 firemen that would man a fifth ambulance for the city.

The revenue for the addition will come from last year’s rate increase charged to health insurance providers.

“We’ve been collecting money for over a year,” said Bossier City Fire Department Chief Brad Zagone, “it did exactly what we though (the rate increase) would do and offset the revenue to do it.”

The department will use one of its five spare ambulances, instead of purchasing a new one.

The new hires will mean there are five ambulances for the city and bring emergency personnel to 206.

Zagone told the council it will likely be housed at Station No. 3 on Plantation Drive near the Walmart and Lowe’s stores on Airline Drive.

“I don’t know for sure. I can tell you it’s a 90 percent chance it will be housed there,” he said.

Zagone said the population growth is the reason for the addition.

“We ran out of ambulances 23 times so far this year,” he said. “In fact, we used administrative personnel to man an ambulance on weekends for a year.”

When Bossier City doesn’t have enough ambulances to respond to emergencies, Shreveport ambulances are recruited. Zagone said that a recent incident highlighted the need for another ambulance when both cities had no ambulances available, requiring Balentine Ambulance, a private service, to help respond.

“Never in my time have we had to do that,” Zagone said.

The resolution will allow the department to hire the 10 personnel, but it essentially adds them to next year’s budget for final approval in the fall.

“The resolution gives the okay to hire, so when the council gets together to look at next year’s budget, it’s already included,” Zagone explained. “I’m being way upfront. Giving them plenty of notice.”

Zagone noted that the addition is keeping in line with trends as the city seems to add a new ambulance every 10 years, explaining there hasn’t been a new ambulance added since 2004.