How HEMSI is adjusting to Keel Mountain Road closure

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala.- The recent rain left both Keel Mountain Road and Blowing Cave Road in the Gurley area unsafe for drivers. Crews closed them to make repairs, leaving only one way up and down the mountain, Keel Hollow Road.

All of this road work is obviously having an impact on various services, like school buses and mail delivery. Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (HEMSI) officials and emergency responders want residents there to know  that they are prepared.

“It is a concern, as it is for many public safety agencies and the public in its self but we are aware of it and made adjustments in our systems and the way we assign calls,” said HEMSI spokesperson Don Webster.

Webster says responding to calls takes strategy.

“In our staffing plan we could have 22 ambulances working and they are traveling all over the city of Huntsville, Madison, and Madison County, so you never know exactly where they will be,” said Webster.

Webster says despite the road closures, response times should remain about the same.

“Most of the calls from Keel Mountain, the unit comes from Owens Cross Roads. A normal travel pattern is the back side of the mountain. So not a lot has changed,” said Webster.

He adds that HEMSI works closely with volunteer fire crews and other first responders who can also assist with medical needs until units make it up the mountain.

“Fire, law enforcement, EMS. We all work together. We all have a common denominator and that is to take care of our citizens. We keep the line of communication open, we know things are going to happen such as this major road closure,” said Webster.

HEMSI says the closure of Cecil Ashburn Drive in Huntsville does have a slight impact on response times to Keel Mountain. When the Owens Cross Roads unit gets sent to Keel Mountain — another unit then has to be sent to Owens Cross Roads for backup.

Webster says those living on the mountain can rest easy knowing the emergency responders have plans in place.


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