LOCKPORT - After a 2 1/2-year hiatus caused by financial problems, City of Lockport firefighters are expected to resume providing advanced life support services on rescue calls as of March 1.
Fire Chief Patrick K. Brady said the State Health Department approved a two-year license for the service Jan. 9, and advanced life support can resume if the Fire Department passes a Health Department inspection Feb. 28.
Brady said firefighters will go to rescue calls only if Niagara County dispatchers deem it necessary. Fire trucks will carry a supply of 36 medications and specialized equipment for advanced life support needs.
The city laid off 12 firefighters in 2013 and 2014 because of a financial crisis, which also saw Lockport privatize ambulance service, sell its ambulances and surrender its state permit for life support services.
At present, 22 of the city's 34 firefighters are paramedics, a figure which will rise to 25 of 38 by the end of the summer. The city received a federal grant to hire four new fire firefighters, who will join the force Feb. 13. The grant will pay the four men's full salaries and benefits for two years. Two of the newcomers already are paramedics and a third is in training for that role, Brady said.