By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
Jan. 9, 2013 — As part of an ongoing series highlighting special districts in Carter County, this week the Journal-Times examines the Emergency Ambulance Service.
Since beginning operations in the late 70s, the Emergency Ambulance Service has grown to two stations, one in Grayson and the other in Olive Hill.
The service employs 47 people, mostly paramedics and EMTs, who provide 24-hour coverage to the county by way of 13 ambulances, six of which are equipped for advanced life support.
The Ambulance Service has an annual budget of approximately three million dollars, but only about twenty percent of that amount is actually funded by county taxpayers.
“We only bring in between $575,000 and $600,000 in tax revenues. All the other money we generate comes directly from billing for transport services, either to individuals or insurance companies,” said Jerry Horn, the county administrator for the Emergency Ambulance Service.
According to Horn, the service performs approximately 8,000 transports every year, which puts a lot of wear and tear on the ambulances and other equipment.
“One of the biggest challenges we have is keeping the ambulances running and up do date. Just to buy a new ambulance costs about $100,000 and then it takes another $100,000 to outfit it with all the equipment we need,” said Horn.
One important piece of equipment in particular, the automatic chest compressor, carries a cost of approximately $16,000 to install on an ambulance.
It’s well worth the expense to Horn, who notes that the compressor has saved twenty lives since first being equipped on the county’s ambulances.
“We really try to keep our equipment as state-of-the-art as possible,” Horn added.
The Journal-Times is examining all special districts in Carter County. Featured next will be the Public Library district.
Joe Lewis can be reached at email@example.com or by telephone at 286-4201.