Ninety days ago, Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County requested back-up assistance from both the London Rescue Squad and the county’s fire departments for all wrecks, and they’ve reported it’s been a great success. Both can assist in vehicle extraction, first aid and traffic control, but is it too much to call out both agencies?
The board of the London-Laurel County Communications Center gathered on Thursday afternoon to discuss a separation of duties.
“The help that we’ve received is invaluable. In fact, the fire departments are there before we are,” said James Hacker, CEO of Ambulance Inc.
Fire departments are conveniently located in every community, and therefore, able to travel only a few miles to the scene of an accident. The ambulance service, because of its centralized location on west Fifth Street, may take as long as 20 minutes to arrive at the scene, said Phil Williams, chief of the Bush Volunteer Fire Department.
However, when all emergency agencies are called out, including the fire departments, rescue squad, police cruisers and ambulance, it creates a traffic problem, which could be a danger to the public.
“Concerns are the fire departments cause too much traffic on the scene but our department, like others, are trained to be conscious of traffic situations — and to leave an open lane for an ambulance,” Williams said.
The communications center also voiced concern with increased emergency road traffic and liabilities.
“I believe that the only liability will be if the dispatch doesn’t page the fire department for the people of our community,” Williams responded.
Hacker and Williams agreed to continue calling out both the fire departments and rescue squad in collaboration with the ambulance service, but the core issue of traffic remained.
For further discussions on proper protocols, all emergency departments and officials are invited to attend the Laurel County Fire Alliance meeting on Sunday, August 7.
“We need to have a discussion of some bugs that probably need to be fixed, protocols of what needs to be pated out and what doesn’t,” Hacker said.