E-911 takes up slack

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Highland Home's lack of ambulance service between the hours of midnight and six p.m. has forced the Crenshaw County E-911 Board to take certain steps and ensure that area is covered in the event of a medical emergency.

Luverne Rescue, Brantley Rescue and Hornoraville's First Responder unit have reached an agreement to cover Highland Home's rescue calls during those weekday hours that the community's fire and rescue service will be inactive.

Highland Home Fire and Rescue will be able to respond to calls during the weekend hours and will notify 911 of its availability during the weekdays.

The solution is a temporary one, according to E-911Vice-Chairman Paul Creel, but will continue until the future of Highland Home's rescue service becomes clearer.

Highland Home is faced with the possibility of canceling its ambulance service entirely. Lack of qualified personnel and volunteers would eliminate a service that has been available to the community since 1972. The department currently has only 17 volunteers, with several announcing their intentions of retiring at some point this year.

The department's license to transport those needing emergency care expires on Oct. 31, 2005.

Creel said he hoped Highland Home residents would utilize the service reasonably.

"If it's not a real emergency, we don't need to be called," he said.

Creel explained that patients would have to wait for Luverne Rescue to travel the 16 miles to Highland Home and then the return back to Luverne where they would be taken to the Crenshaw County Hospital.

"Depending on the situation, it may be quicker for them to come by car themselves," said Creel. "We'll bring them back to Luverne, because if there's only one unit on call we'll need to get back in service in this area. In certain areas of the county, right along the edge of the county line, it may make better sense for us to take them to Greenville. But I most cases, we'll bring them here."

On any emergency call coming from Highland Home during the weekdays, E-911 will dispatch both Luverne Rescue and Honoraville First Responder. Although, they cannot transport a patient, Honoraville First Responders can provide oxygen, splinting and other emergency needs to patients.