Covering Pike County: Ambulance Dispatch Concerns Residents

Troy, AL (WSFA) -- It's something we take for granted, until every second counts.

An ambulance can mean the difference between life and death.  That's why Pike County residents voiced major concerns after Care Ambulance moved local dispatchers from Troy to a centralized office in Montgomery.

"We don't dispatch the police department from Montgomery, and we don't dispatch the fire department from Montgomery, so why should we dispatch another vital service to our community from outside our community?" asked Janet Motes, a Pike County resident.

Thursday night, at a public meeting, Care's Regional Vice President took questions and--at times--strong criticism for a move the company says is justified.

"Versus having one person who's here to answer phones, you've got multiple people there if it gets busy," explained Dell Gamble of Care Ambulance.

Having the county-subsidized service operate fifty miles away just doesn't cut it for County Commissioners.

Commissioner Charlie Harris worries that an outsider may not have knowledge of Pike County's roads--critical information for paramedics during an emergency.

"If you get our local people who know pike county, we wouldn't have this problem with the dispatch center," Harris said.

It's a fact Care Ambulance says isn't an issue.

"Everything that they would use down here is being used in Montgomery--plus more, plus the GPS units that are out there today," Gamble explained.

Regardless of the provider, all residents want are results.

"We want people who can have the timely response and get to them so they can provide the care," Janet Motes said.

Reporter: Cody Holyoke