Florence City Council Questions Fire Department Run Ambulance Service

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - The debate continues over which ambulance service will run in Lauderdale County and the City of Florence.

The current contract runs out in ten days.  Now, some Florence City Council members want to consider another option:  using the fire department as an ambulance service.

“We are public servants.  We are in public safety we`re always looking for additional challenges and roles to fulfill.  If the city council wants us to do this, absolutely we will take it on and do the very best we can,” said Florence Fire Department Chief, Charlie Cochran.

Chief Cochran says Nearly 2/3 of all the departments calls are already medical calls, however he says, if the city decides to go with a fire department based ambulance service, there will still be growing pains along with additional costs.

“We would need to look at the staffing level and the equipment.  You have to look into billing, liability. It`s a multi-faceted issue that must be addressed,” said Cochran.

The city council considered this same option nearly ten years ago, but eventually went with a contract service because of the price.

“It’s done in a lot of places that way, but a lot of places are getting away from that and going to contract services,” said George Graybryan with the Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency.  “It`s just kinda what the flavor of the community would be and how the numbers would run on that.”

Officials say it’s another option to contend with the bids from Lauderdale EMS and the Shoals Ambulance Service.

When the contract runs out on September 1st, Lauderdale EMS will continue running ambulance calls under the same agreement until a new contract can be reached.

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