Full-time SJ medical unit approved
Yates is only ‘no’ vote
BY ANGELA GARY
A proposal to locate a full-time medical unit in the South Jackson area was approved in a 3-1 vote of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners Monday.
District 3 commissioner Bruce Yates cast the lone “No” vote after stating that he believes a unit should be placed in West Jackson instead. Yates asked EMS director Steve Nichols about the number of people served in both the South Jackson and West Jackson areas.
“It seems to me, we have a larger concentration of people who would reap the benefits in the West Jackson area, if we had put one there,” Yates said.
While there are more people in the West Jackson area, Nichols said the response time there is faster than in the South Jackson area. In the West Jackson area, the average response time is 12 minutes. In the South Jackson area, the average response time is 22 minutes.
Commissioner Dwain Smith said, “We are long overdue in getting an ambulance in that area (South Jackson). It is the only area that is not within five miles of an ambulance. It is needed badly, not only for that area, but also for a backup.”
Nichols said he and other staff are working on a long-range plan for the West Jackson area.
“We know growth is coming in that Braselton area,” he said. “We are putting a plan together on this.”
The new unit in South Jackson will be in service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and will serve the South Jackson and Redstone districts. It will be in service as of July 1.
Nichols said at an earlier meeting that the new unit will improve the response time for medical calls from the South Jackson area, as well as in Nicholson and Jefferson. The Nicholson and Jefferson units now respond to calls from South Jackson.
Nichols said 5,318 addresses, or approximately 13,200 people are served in the South Jackson district. In the past year, 213 calls have come from the South Jackson district.
Nichols also pointed out that the county has called on private medical companies or other counties 127 times in the past year because a county unit was not available. He said a delay like this can cause another 30 minute wait for a medical call.
The South Jackson unit would be funded for the remainder of this year with $120,511 in EMS revenue fund and $97,289 from the county general fund.
Total funding for this additional unit on an annual basis would be $435,600.