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Oklahoma City Reviewing EMSA Ambulance Service

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Oklahoma City and Tulsa are debating whether to renew contracts with EMSA.  EMSA has provided ambulance service in Oklahoma City for 20 years. Oklahoma City and Tulsa are debating whether to renew contracts with EMSA. EMSA has provided ambulance service in Oklahoma City for 20 years.
Oklahoma City and Tulsa are evaluating whether to allow the cities' fire departments to take over ambulance service. Oklahoma City and Tulsa are evaluating whether to allow the cities' fire departments to take over ambulance service.

By Adrianna Iwasinski, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma City and Tulsa must decide by next October who will provide ambulance care for both cities.

EMSA has provided the service for almost 20 years in Oklahoma City, but that did not guarantee a contract renewal. City leaders said they must review all options on a regular basis. A spokesperson said EMSA welcomed the review.

"It's a great opportunity for the city to look and see what a great system they have and the value that they have within the EMSA system," EMSA Chief Public Information Officer Frank Gresh said.

EMSA took over ambulance service in Oklahoma City in 1990, and started providing the same service in Tulsa in 1977. Oklahoma City said it will wait to see what Tulsa decides. The city's Firefighters Union has pushed to have the Tulsa Fire Department take over ambulance care.

Oklahoma City Councilman Gary Marrs has asked fellow council members to evaluate the options sooner rather than later.

"I just felt it would be good to give the city and the fire department time to actually study and put a good proposal together," Marrs said.

Marrs once worked as Oklahoma City's fire chief and now sits on the EMSA board of trustees.

The current fire chief said the Oklahoma City Fire Department was able to handle ambulance service if that's the option the city chose. They warned it could cost the city millions of dollars up front, but save money in the long run.

Although both Oklahoma City and Tulsa must make a decision by October 2012, EMSA's current contract expires in 2013.

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