Blount Co. seeing improvements to 911 response times with new ambulance service

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 10:00 PM CST
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BLOUNT CO., Ala. (WBRC) - We first told you back in September about how Blount County ambulances were understaffed and struggling responding to the 911 call volume. In October, a new ambulance service started, because the former companies contract had ended. Now, county leaders said they are seeing improvements.

“We might have a day where there’s 12 medical calls and a day where it’s 40,” Blount County 911 Director Neal Brooks said. “It was frequent that we were having extended ETAs on ambulances, having to rely on our neighbors.”

Blount County 911 Director Neal Brooks said the ambulance company was struggling with staffing, but also, they typically drive patients to Birmingham hospitals. That means there are hours before the rig gets back.

“With the travel distance, if we have four calls that happen within an hour, it’s going to take an hour and a half to two hours for those trucks to make the loop and get back,” Brooks said. “The time spent on a transport, versus only having three trucks, there were a lot of times we were not having a truck in service in the county.”

The county now has a new ambulance contract and they went from having two to three trucks a day, to four to five.

“We were averaging over 30 calls a month where we were having to ask for outside help,” Brooks said. “That’s now I believe eight, last month.”

Brooks said the new ambulances are also brining new people to the area.

“They have increased their employee pay scale, so they have attracted employees that left and went to other places,” he said. “They used to work in Blount County and they’ve come back and also enticed people we haven’t met before.”

Brooks said the new ambulance service, Lifeguard, also hired many employees from the previous EMS company.

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