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Ambulance service on pace for record-breaking year

Staff writer

With two months remaining in the year, Marion County Emergency Medical Service is 88 percent of the way to its busiest year on record, Director Steve Smith told Marion County Commission on Monday.

“We’ve probably got a record-setting year for calls coming in,” he said.

Through October, ambulances responded to 1,013 calls in 2011. The highest number of calls on record was in 2008, with 1,151. At the same point in 2010, ambulances had responded to only 879 calls.

In October, ambulance crews were called out 93 times, down 7 percent from the same month in 2010. The Hillsboro ambulance went on 32 calls; Marion, 25; Peabody, 21; Tampa, 9; Florence, 5; and the backup unit, 1. First responders were called into service three times in Goessel, and once in Lincolnville.

There were 22 medical emergency calls, 18 transfers, 18 falls, 14 no-transports, 10 motor vehicle accidents, 5 canceled calls, 3 cardiac emergencies, and 3 standbys.

Commission Chairman Roger Fleming told Smith that Tampa ambulance volunteers asked him why the unit wasn’t receiving a new ambulance next year, because they said they had been promised one.

Instead, the new ambulance will go into service in Peabody, and Peabody’s ambulance will be transferred to Tampa, with the current Tampa ambulance being reduced to a backup unit in Marion.

The Peabody ambulance responds to more calls and puts on a lot of miles, Smith said.

The Tampa ambulance has a problem with dust filling the patient care area while driving on gravel roads, caused by a bad seal. Installing a new patient care module could solve the problem for about half the cost of a whole new ambulance, Smith said. The Tampa ambulance only has about 40,000 miles on it and runs well.

Smith said he would ask an ambulance company representative to inspect the Tampa ambulance and make a recommendation.

Last modified Nov. 10, 2011

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