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Public safety director notes lack of ambulance options

Photo provided to the Times Observer This map shows the county divided by ambulance agency response area. The red areas are exclusively covered by EmergyCare during the day, Monday through Friday, while the yellow areas denote volunteer response during that time window.

Ambulance service during the day in Warren County has seen another agency leave the scene, stretching the remaining resources even thinner.

Public Safety Director Ken McCorrison stressed that the county’s agencies are doing the best that they can.

But that doesn’t mean that the challenges just go away.

McCorrison said the Starbrick Volunteer Fire Department is the latest agency to call out of service during the day on weekdays.

“(They) were our best performing volunteer agencies in the county,” he said. “One of their members had a condition that prevents him from presently (serving).”

He explained that this is exactly what an agency is supposed to do if it does not have the staff to respond to EMS calls in its jurisdiction. The notification allows the 911 Center to save time and quickly move to the next available agency.

But those available agencies are becoming harder and harder to find.

McCorrison provided a graphic that shows just six volunteer agencies are staffed during the weekday hours. However, those that are not include some of the largest municipalities.

The end result is that the majority of the county’s population is covered by EmergyCare — or the City of Warren — during the day.

It doesn’t leave dispatchers with a ton of options.

When a call requires an advanced life support response a basic life support ambulance responds alongside. During the day, that — sending two ambulances to the same scene — further limits available agencies.

The situation does alleviate to some degree in the evening and overnight. McCorrison said Clarendon, Pleasant, Starbrick and Youngsville volunteer fire departments have response capabilities during those periods.

That response is still a thin line.

“I would say comfortably,” McCorrison said, that “each agency is counting on four key people.

“It’s putting all the weight back on my guys,” McCorrison, who oversees the 911 Center, said. “The struggle is real.”

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