SALISBURY — As of midnight last night, Cataldo Ambulance Service will be responding to medical emergency calls in Salisbury.
After a recommendation from Town Manager Neil Harrington, the Board of Selectmen gave unanimous approval last night. Cataldo will serve out the remainder of the town’s contract with its former ambulance provider, AMR, which decided earlier this year to pull out of Salisbury, as well as out of Newburyport and West Newbury. Cataldo has already taken over for AMR in Newburyport and West Newbury.
In business for 35 years and headquartered in Somerville, Cataldo will serve Salisbury and the region from AMR’s former site on Boston Way in Newburyport, Vice President Dennis Cataldo told selectmen. The company has 90 ambulances and responded to 100,000 911 calls last year. It provides coverage for other oceanside communities like Revere and Marblehead and back-up ambulance service to Amesbury, Georgetown and Newbury.
Cataldo also assured selectmen that like AMR, his company will commit to stationing an ambulance in Salisbury during weather emergencies — like Hurricane Sandy — and during high-volume summer events and weekends. Selectmen wanted the company to offer such service to ensure prompt response in spite of heavy local traffic and delays the opening of the Gillis Bridge can cause.
“We fully intend in honoring everything AMR honored in the past,” Cataldo said.
According to Cataldo, his company has already hired a number of former AMR staffers who are familiar with service in Salisbury, and it intends to use their experience to understand the best way to serve Salisbury.
According to Harrington, after AMR informed the town the company was leaving the area, he undertook research into three ambulance companies interested in filling the void. Along with Cataldo, Harrington looked into Trinity and Action ambulance services. All three were good companies, he said, but Cataldo was fire Chief Rick Souliotis’ preference.