Ambulance Decision Shifted to Full Commission

County E-911 Director Christie Fulcher spoke at a public safety committee meeting Tuesday, discussing how to dispatch ambulances most efficiently.

Selecting an ambulance service provider for 2019 was on the agenda for the public safety committee meeting on Tuesday morning, but no decision was reached.

Member David Hawks invited members to comment on their choice and the reason for it before a vote was taken, but he was the only one who seemed willing to discuss it.

Hawks said he was concerned that coordination between Weakley County’s 911 and operations other than Weakley County Ambulance, such as Priority One or West Tennessee Healthcare, might result in delays in response.

“Twenty seconds [delay] is too long,” Hawks said. “Ten seconds is too long.”

WTH’s Joyce Noles was quick to agree with him, and said the hospital was already looking at interfaces that would allow the coordination to be “as seamless as possible.” She said other counties in which they operate either use conference calling or allow the 911 dispatch to contact ambulance drivers directly.

“We don’t want delays,” she assured the committee.

A representative from Baptist, the parent company for Priority One, said his agency planned to consider the same options.

Christie Fulcher, the county’s 911 director, reminded the group that her office is EMD-certified, meaning her personnel are qualified to make dispatch decisions. She said 911 does “all calls” to all ambulances simultaneously until 11 p.m., then switches to calling the nearest station.

For the rest of the story and details on the next steps in the process, see the Nov. 8 issue of the Weakley County Press.

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