Leader Blues

Friday, April 18, 2008

TOP STORY > >Mayors suggest ambulance plan

By JOAN McCOY
Leader staff writer

When Cabot Mayor Eddie Joe Williams attended the Thursday meeting of the Lonoke County Quorum Court he asked for support for a county-wide ambulance service and got what he asked for.

“Do you think it’s a good idea? Would it benefit the county and would you support the concept?” Williams asked. “If we don’t have the backing of the quorum court, it won’t work.”

Justice of the Peace Mike Dolan from England answered for the group.

“There’s safety in numbers,” Dolan said. “It can’t hurt to look into it. I think we are all in consensus to go ahead.”

Also attending the meeting were Ward Mayor Art Brooke, England Mayor Danny Maynard and Humnoke Mayor Bill Morris.

For now, one ambulance service for the entire county is only a concept that grew out of the mayors’ meetings that Williams asked for shortly after he took office in 2007. Williams told the quorum court that a number of possibilities had been discussed by the mayors.

In Pulaski and Faulkner counties, Metropolitan Emergency Medical Service (MEMS) provides ambulance service.

Cabot also uses MEMS but this year the city must pay a $50,000 subsidy to keep the service. Lonoke used MEMS but could not pay the requested $87,000 subsidy. Now Southern Paramedic Service from Brinkley responds to 911 calls.

England uses Emergency Ambulance Service based in Pine Bluff and when 911 calls go out in Humnoke, an ambulance is sent from England.

Ward uses Allied which also serves Austin and the Mountain Springs and CS&Z fire districts.

The approval from the quorum court was for the mayors to keep looking at ways to consolidate so that even the most rural areas have access to emergency medical care.

Williams said so far the mayors have discussed the possibility of a county-owned ambulance service controlled by a board representing the whole county.