Owner wants to bring back Florala EMS

Published 12:02 am Friday, June 12, 2015

Opportunity EMS Owner Haywood Nawlin wants to put Florala EMS back in business.

Nawlin addressed the Florala City Council during Monday’s meeting, and said his main issue is the ambulance service’s contract with Covington County E-911.

“That thing has kept us from having an ambulance service here,” he said.

Covington County E-911 Director Kristi Stamnes said that any rescue squad or ambulance service who wants to be dispatched through E-911 has to sign a contract with the agency. The contracts are automatically renewed unless either party terminates them.

“Florala rescue is a BLS (Basic Life Support) rescue agency to the state,” Stamnes said. “That’s how they are registered in the state. They can only respond to basic calls.

“In an emergency call, an ALS (Advanced Life Support) company has to respond to it,” she said. “When we have an ALS call, we have to send a unit out of Andalusia and Opp.”

A typical BLS ambulance provides transport to patients who do not require extra support or cardiac monitoring. They are staffed by EMTs and are typically for injuries such as lower extremety fractures, discharges to home and sub-acute care facilities, such as nursing homes, medical and surgical patients who do not require cardiac monitoring.

ALS ambulances transport patients who need a higher level of care during transport above BLS services, but do not require a registered nurse. These typically include:

• any patient who needs continuous IV medicine;

• any patient with a cardiac monitor;

• obstetrical patients;

• patients with potential airway compromise; and,

• any patient who is likely to have a potential complication during transport.

Stamnes said ALS ambulance services pay $400 per month, while a BLS service pays $25 per month.

Staffing requirements on an ALS service are that it should be sufficient to respond with at least three ambulances if needed, Stamnes said.

“That’s a minimum of six paramedics and six drivers,” she said. “BLS staffing is different because they don’t have any paramedics.”

Nawlin was asked what needs to be done to get rid of the contract, to which he said a petition needs to be sent to the Covington County Commission and that commissioners need to rework the contract as the commission appoints the E-911 board.

“They don’t have any business telling me how to run my business,” Nawlin said. “We don’t need a contract with 911.”

At present, Florala Police Chief Sonny Bedsole said Opportunity EMS services Florala.

When asked if other ambulance services have the same mindset, Nawlin said no.

“I’m going to see that you have service,” he said.