HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) – The Morgan County towns of Hartselle and Falkville are losing their primary ambulance service as early as midnight Wednesday morning.
Morgan County E-911 Director Ryan Welty confirmed talks with Cross Roads Ambulance Service had been ongoing throughout much of Tuesday. He said as he understands the situation, Cross Roads will park their fleet of four ambulances as of midnight Wednesday morning due to financial problems.
When reached by telephone late Tuesday afternoon, David Childers, of Decatur’s First Response Ambulance Service, confirmed he was aware of the situation and said his company would bring in extra vehicles and staff to make certain those areas of Morgan County were adequately covered until officials in Hartselle and Falkville could make more permanent arrangements.
Cross Roads Ambulance acquired the exclusive Hartselle and Falkville ambulance service agreements approximately one year ago after several ambulances were repossessed from the previous service provider, County EMS. They eventually got the vehicles back, but Hartselle city officials, uncomfortable with the situation, voted to cancel the agreement they had with County EMS and award the contract to Cross Roads. County EMS went out of business not long thereafter.
Welty told WHNT News 19 he understands city officials in Hartselle were attempting to convince Cross Roads to remain in business until at least noon Wednesday, but he said he wasn’t certain if the company would be able to fulfill the request. Welty said, however, he is confident the area will have adequate EMS protection during this transition.
Cross Roads becomes the third Morgan County ambulance service to fail in the past year. County EMS went out of business shortly after losing the Hartselle and Falkville agreements, and Decatur Emergency Medical Services Inc., or DEMSI, shut down earlier this year after repeatedly failing to meet payroll prompting employees to briefly walk off the job to draw attention to the situation. The owner, Dr. Roger Stanmore, eventually filed for bankruptcy protection. First Response became Decatur’s only EMS provider and has lowered response times and increased the size of its fleet several times over.
Welty says he has no authority to say which ambulance service will answer calls in the two towns. He says that is up to city leaders. He says all of the ambulances in the county are equipped with GPS tracking systems so the nearest vehicle can be dispatched to a call.
Efforts to contact Hartselle and Falkville officials late Tuesday were unsuccessful.