by Darren Doyle:
Edmonson EMS Director Keith Sanders reported to the fiscal court today that the ambulance service has now implemented another full time ambulance crew after 4pm, meaning that two full time crews are now available from 8am until midnight.
Until recently, only one crew was immediately available after the regular 8AM-4PM shift, causing the ambulance service to have to call in an emergency crew if the on-call crew was on a run. This caused longer response times and hefty overtime costs for the ambulance service.
"We could see that we were getting about as many calls after 4pm as we were before, so instead of paying overtime for the same service and causing longer response time, we decided it would be best to add a second crew full-time from 4pm to midnight."
Sanders said while safety has always been the EMS service's concern, there was no reason to have an additional full-time crew just sitting at the ambulance service for an entire shift if they weren't needed. He said an ambulance has always been available 24/7, but after normal shift hours a crew has to be called in, much like the same way firefighters are called in.
The addition now allows two full-time ambulance crews to be available from 8am to midnight everyday.
"We will always put the safety of our citizens first," he said. "But some people don't realize we have to operate as a business. We have to make sure we're making good business decisions, too. With the addition of another full-time crew after 4pm, it's still cheaper than paying all the overtime we were getting into. This just allows us to have faster response times and we feel it will be better for everyone in the long run."
The fiscal court also approved a letter on behalf on the ambulance service, requesting a KBEMS Ambulance Service Block Grant in the amount of $10,000. Director Sanders said it's basically a guaranteed grant for the ambulance service but the court must approve the letter asking for the grant. The court approved unanimously.