Franklin County switching ambulance provider - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Franklin County switching ambulance provider

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

Changes are coming to speed up emergency response times for ambulances in Franklin County.

Franklin County commissioners say they got as many as three complaints a week about Shoals Ambulance Service, so they're switching to Helen Keller EMS.

"The quicker we can get someone some help the chances of their survival is a lot greater," said Franklin County 911 administrator Brandon James

James said the response time kept increasing with the Shoals ambulances, and emergency calls were suffering. He said it sometimes took upwards of 15 minutes to get an ambulance.

"We could administer care to the patience, but we still had to wait on that transport. We had to physically take them from the scene to the hospital, and the times were great on some of those calls,” James said.

He said there are about 350 ambulance calls in the county every month.

The county commissioners unanimously voted for Helen Keller, believing that service will provide the most coverage.

"Obviously we will customize the service to fit the community needs, but hopefully we can use the same model that we use in Colbert County that has been successful for more than 30 years,” said Bruce Carson, director of emergency services.

A 24-hour ambulance will be stationed both in Red Bay and Russellville. There will also be a 12-hour truck in Russellville as well as another standby vehicle in Red Bay. A special needs ambulance will also be available for certain calls.

"Nursing home patients or hospital patients that need to go to a different service to a heart service or whatever. It won't tie up a 911 truck,” said District 1 Commissioner Chris Wallace.

The new contract with Helen Keller EMS starts Jan. 1.

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