DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - We're continuing to following the developing story of Decatur's emergency medical services. Decatur EMS Inc., or DEMSI as it's better known, has filed for bankruptcy.
The company remains in operation, but with only one ambulance available to cover the entire city. Decatur's other ambulance service has picked up the slack and actually lowered response times in the city.
You dial 911 when you need help and you expect that help to be there, always available because sometimes lives hang in the balance. In Decatur, one of the city's ambulances services is itself on life support while the other is gearing up to meet the city's needs.
DEMSI could be voted out of existence next week. They've not been in compliance with Decatur's ambulance ordinance since February 7th, when employees walked off the job because of late and bounced paychecks. Last week, the city's EMS committee recommended their license be revoked and the city council is scheduled to take up that matter on Monday.
"Right now you're seeing the most ambulances in the City of Decatur than you've ever seen," says David Childers, the General Manager of First Response Ambulance Service.
First Response is DEMSI'a cross-town rival. They currently have nine ambulances on the road and expect that number to grow to 15.
"We had anticipated this for about three months now, so we were able to not scramble but get things together," said Childers. "We already had things in place to take up the call volume and that's just exactly what we've done."
They've also managed to lower response times by putting some crews on the road just to answer non-emergency transfers and trips to and from the doctor. That frees up their advanced life support crews to handle emergency calls. On average, their ambulances are on the scene within four and a half minutes from the time a call for help is made.
The bottom line to all of this is not only are the community's EMS needs being met, Childers tells us the service is actually getting better.