Small town Illinois ambulance service is unsure what’s coming next

The Oneida Wataga Fire Department and AOW Ambulance Service are discussing whether to renew AOW’s contract and possibly resort to a paid full-time paramedic.

ONEIDA, Illinois – Currently the towns of Altona, Oneida, and Wataga all depend on one volunteer ambulance service called AOW. But, that could change come May 1st when contracts end.

At a meeting Saturday concerned community members and currently AOW EMTs met to discuss the possible changes.

The Oneida Wataga Fire Chief, Dustin Speck, says board trustee from each town are looking into alternatives to the AOW Ambulance Service.

Volunteers at the Saturday meeting say one option is to hire a full-time paramedic and two EMTs to replace the 20 volunteers with AOW.

But that’s an option that doesn’t sit well with current volunteers.

“It caused a lot of turmoil,” says community member, Rollie Moore. “A lot of poison in the water between the groups and it’s fractured the community for not a lot of very good reasons.”

Current EMTs are having another community meeting Wednesday, January 9th at 7PM.

The Oneida Watage Fire Chief says trustees have until May 1st to decide how ambulance services will look in the future.