CHILTON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) – When Care Ambulance stops serving Chilton, Dallas and Lowndes Counties at the end of June, Chilton County will be left with two ambulances while Dallas and Lowndes Counties will have none.
“It’s going to be an issue for everyone. It’s going to affect a lot of people,” said Chief David Driver, Clanton Fire Department.
Care Ambulance and Regional Paramedical Services (RPS) are the emergency transport providers in Chilton County. Between the two, Chief Driver said there are four ambulances in service at any given time.
“It’s going to be a big issue, because right now, with 4 ambulances, we occasionally have to wait for one to come from outside the county,” explained Chief Driver.
He added, the change could mean, “longer wait times, extended transports to the hospital, so it’s just going to grow to be more issues from there.”
Clanton Firefighters are trained medics and can stabilize a patient but added, “unfortunately, there are some things we can’t do.”
“There are some things only a doctor can do, and obviously if we don’t have an ambulance to take people to the hospital, they are going to be waiting to get that level of care.”
The Chilton County 911 Board is working with RPS to fill the gap when Care Ambulance ends service. The deal has not been finalized, but the board’s interim director says there will be a plan in place soon to make sure service is not impacted.
Dallas and Lowndes Counties are also working to find a replacement service.
Statewide, the Office of EMS said there is “adequate ambulance service” but rural areas “tend to lack coverage.”
It’s a reality Chief Driver said he’s used to.
“If there’s not an ambulance available, there’s not an ambulance available.”
A spokesman for Care Ambulance said it will work with Chilton, Lowndes and Dallas Counties through the change of service.
In a statement, the spokesman said: “We have made the decision to consolidate our operations to Montgomery, Phenix City and Columbus only. This is a market-based decision that will allow us to best serve our customers in those locations. Care Ambulance is committed to working with other emergency ambulance provider agencies to ensure a smooth transition in the affected areas, including Clanton. People shouldn’t hesitate to call 911 in a medical emergency.”