Blount Co. switching ambulance services after staffing shortage caused service delays
BLOUNT CO., Ala. (WBRC) - The Blount County Sheriff Department said they are switching ambulance contracts after struggling to get ambulances on scene.
Sheriff Mark Moon said for the past year, they have struggled to get ambulances to respond to calls because of nationwide low EMT staffing. He said he does not blame the county’s current ambulance company and knows all emergency services are understaffed right now.
“There have been some issues with having enough ambulances in the county to cover needs,” Moon said. “There were some issues this year with ambulances not responding. We even had trouble here at the Sheriff’s department with deputies out on calls. People who are having mental health situations, like suicidal thoughts, it’s just really hard to get ambulances to those scenes and to respond.”
Moon said they are prioritizing 911 calls, so if you have an emergency, someone is coming.
“If it is something that is life, limb, or eyesight, that is going to the top of the list,” He said. “Someone is coming to you first. If its not life or death, please be patient and understand that every emergency agency is doing the best we can with the personnel and equipment we have.”
With the ambulance shortages causing delays in emergency services, the county’s 911 board voted to switch ambulance companies in October 2022.
Sheriff Moon said the new company has more ambulances and is even hiring the county’s current paramedics to staff up.
“I told them that these people currently working for our current ambulance service, they are going to know all the streets, patients, law enforcement, and fire department people around here,” Moon said. “They’re going to be the greatest assets you’ll have.”
Sheriff Moon said the new ambulance services was not set to start until October, but now they will start a couple days early.
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