E-911 awards exclusive deals to Advanced EMS, Pridemark

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Come January, Covington County E-911 will dispatch emergency medical calls exclusively to Advanced EMS in area A and Pridemark EMS in area B.

Area A will cover Andalusia and everything north and west of Hwy. 55 and County Road 4, while Area B will cover Opp and Florala and everything south and east of Hwy. 55 and County Road 4.

Advanced EMS agreed to pay the board $500 a month or $6,000 a year to have the exclusive dispatch agreement.

Pridemark EMS bid $4,800 for the year on their territory.

The two ambulance companies were the only two companies to submit bids for the exclusive agreement.

The Pridemark contract will bring advanced life support operations to Florala on a 24/7 basis.

The city of Florala agreed in October to supply a bay for the ALS ambulance, utilities and $1,000 per month to help the company offset costs.

Officials at Pridemark said they are committed to having a unit in Florala, but said they were unsure they could make a profit in Florala without more incentives.

E-911 attorney Mark Ryan reminded the board that if the city of Florala failed to keep up its end of the deal then Pridemark would not be responsible for keeping an ambulance there.

However, Ryan said the company should be able to utilize transfers from Florala Health and Rehab to help with its bottom line.

Ryan also told Pridemark officials they would have to work separately with the city of Florala to gain any special tax money or grant money to help defray operations costs.

“I think there is an opportunity for Florala since there hasn’t been an ALS, and instead of people just getting in their cars to go to the emergency room, they can use the ambulance because they have care being provided on the way to the hospital,” said E-911 board chairman Wayne Godwin.

Board member Sonny Bedsole, who is also the Florala police chief, said they city was going to allow Pridemark to use the old police department, which has a renovated office space with an extra room that would be conducive for sleeping and they were working to put a new roof on the bay for the ambulance to be housed.

The new ambulance contracts go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.