Gilbert residents requiring ambulance transportation are being served through the Gilbert Fire & Rescue Department starting this week.

The department fully opened its ambulance transportation division July 26, taking over service from private provider American Medical Response.

Gilbert Fire & Rescue Chief Jim Jobusch said in a release the town is in better position to serve the town this way as it grows.

“Providing ambulance transportation to our citizens during medical emergencies is a natural extension of our service delivery model,” Jobusch said. “The personnel assigned to the ambulances will receive the same medical training and follow the same protocols as our firefighters, which will ensure seamless operations and continuity of care for our patients.”

Having the town take control of the service from a private provider was challenged by some members on Gilbert Town Council, passing on a 5-2 vote last August with Council Members Aimee Yentes and Jared Taylor dissenting.

However, Jobusch and other town officials indicated an unhappiness with AMR in some aspects of response and in negotiations for a contract extension. They said at the time they believed the town was in better position to offer the service and to do so at less cost to residents.

Gilbert Fire & Rescue operated one ambulance alongside AMR since November 2019. With the new service, it will operate six ambulances from Gilbert Fire Stations Nos. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8 and 9. Each ambulance has a crew of one paramedic and one emergency medical technician.

Service fees for Gilbert’s ambulance transportation are set and mandated by the Arizona Department of Health Services through its Arizona Ground Ambulance Service Rate Schedule.

In all, the town paid for $2.49 million in startup costs and anticipates $30.05 million paid over eight years in expenses to run the service. However, officials anticipate collecting $35.3 million in revenue by way of service fees over that time.

The surplus would then be used to replace the ambulance fleet as it ages, officials said.