Created: Wed, 09 Jul 2014 05:56:00 EST
Updated: Wed, 09 Jul 2014 08:26:10 EST
Just off Highway 341 South is the city of Culloden in rural west Monroe County. Its where about 300 people must wait at least 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive during an emergency situation.
At the fire station, which is connected to city hall, there's one full-time firefighter during the week, and various volunteers. However when an emergency call for an EMT comes in, there's only so much they can do until an ambulance arrives and is able to transport the person to a hospital. An experience resident Rebecca McCracken dealt with on Tuesday when her friend suffered a heart attack.
"We have to deal with our families too and if we can't get our families to the hospital on time,” she said. “If we have to take them ourselves what's the point of paying taxes for an EMT."
She said the ambulance arrived 45 minutes after the call and it’s not the first time.
Monroe County Emergency Services Director, Donny Mercer said response times in that part of the country are long because of the geographic location. He adds there are only three ambulances serving the entire county. They're stationed in Bolingbroke, Johnstonville and Forsyth.
"We're covering 390 plus square miles of real estate,” he said. “We are a rural county and we have long roads and from one end of the county it does take a long period of time."
Chief Mercer says a strategic plan to expand ambulance service near Culloden has been discussed with county commissioners. He expects residents to see some improvement in response times by the end of the year.
When someone's life is measured in seconds, McCracken wants everyone in Culloden to have the best chance to survive.
"We need a faster response time,” she said. “I understand, they're doing the best they can. They have their budgets and they have to deal with that."