E911 board urges use of services

Published 1:03 am Thursday, December 3, 2015

Covington County E-911 officials are encouraging locals to utilize ambulance services in emergency situations rather than driving themselves to the emergency room.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the board OK’d contracts with Advanced EMS and Pridemark EMS for exclusive dispatch in the two newly created service territories.

With the new contracts, which go into effect on Jan. 1, there will now be advanced life support ambulance service available to all areas of the county.

Board members on Tuesday agreed they needed to spread the word that the service would be ready on Jan. 1 for the entire county.

Wayne Godwin, who chairs the board, said that those who utilize the ambulance service in times of emergency get emergency care on the ride to the hospital while they don’t while riding in a private vehicle.

Pridemark EMS will service Opp and Florala and all of Territory B, which is east of county road 4 and Hwy. 55 South of Yellow River and Advanced EMS will service Andalusia and the territory not included in B.

In the past, Florala ALS services were not always available in Florala, and the city council sought bids to rectify the lack of service, but received no bids.

Since the beginning of discussion about giving an exclusive agreement, E-911 board members have continually said they have sought to give the residents of Covington County the best emergency medical response.

Godwin said in Tuesday’s meeting he hopes that residents will know that the service is available for them to use.

Board member Thomas Hugghins said he felt it was good to put out a public service announcement about the improved services.

In October, E-911 attorney Mark Ryan said the board believes that it is crucial to play properly trained personnel at the scene of an emergency.

“Covington County believes when a caller dials 911 and Covington County transfers that emergency call to the agency, and if an ambulance is required, it is important that the call be transferred to a company who has proper equipment, response time and personnel to respond to the call,” Ryan said. “One of the terms of the contract is that if there is a code 2 or code 3 call, which are basically calls that require a paramedic level to respond, that they are not to respond with a basic life support unit or with someone who doesn’t have the proper training.”

With the new exclusive contracts, the ambulance services had to prove that they could meet the standards and there are repercussions for not abiding by the standards.

To utilize the ambulance services through E-911, simply dial 911.