Decatur’s only ambulance service calling for slower response times, older vehicles

First Response asks for leeway

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - We have new information in the ongoing saga between First Response Ambulance Service and the city of Decatur.

David Childers, president and owner of HealthCare Investment Group, which owns First Response, asked for several changes in an email to Decatur Fire & Rescue Chief Tracy Thornton.

Our partners at the Decatur Daily found out about this email from an open records request.

A new ambulance ordinance went into effect in 2019 and so far First Response has consistently met response time requirements.

Childers wants to see in-city response requirements go from 8 minutes to 9 minutes and reduce the fine for failing to meet those requirements.

Right now the fine for not meeting 90% of the eight minute requirement in a quarter is $10,000. Childers suggested it be $2,500.

In the email, Childers also said he wants to get rid of a penalty points system. The system rolls over every two years but if the count gets up to 26, it could end First Response’s certificate to operate in the city.

Another change First Response is looking for, Childers wants older ambulances. Right now the ordinance states they have to be less than 6-years-old with less than 200,00 miles. Childers wants the max age extended to 10-years-old.

These negotiations have been ongoing for awhile, in December Childers sent an email with so many suggestions it would have required a whole new ordinance.

Thornton said he doesn’t like the idea of a whole new ordinance but said he is willing to discuss changes.

However, other city officials have been hesitant on changing response requirements.

You can read the full article of the Decatur Daily.

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