EUTAW, Ala. (WIAT) — Residents in Greene County may not have ambulance services by Friday. This comes after the county agency sent a letter to the Alabama State Emergency Medical Services Director this week, citing inability to meet payroll.
This is not a new issue to the department – funding has been a struggle that we have reported on for months.
“It’s going to be a sad day on Friday,” Eutaw resident Joyce Cotton said.
Cotton’s home was hit by severe weather in April. She doesn’t want to imagine a time when ambulance services could stop.
“I’m not afraid, no, just the idea thinking that we wouldn’t have ambulance service,” Cotton said.
State EMS Director Jamie Gray got the department’s letter this week. He said the state will do everything it can to make the transition to neighboring departments as smooth as possible.
“We want to do everything we can to help them, unfortunately there’s not a lot we can do from the state level,” Gray said. “Transitions happen all the time it’s just very unfortunate when one closes in the nature of this county that only has one service.”
We spoke with the Interim County EMS Director Zac Bolding on the phone who said this is a decision he hoped he would never have to make and is still struggling with. He said he called a meeting with other officials in the county to talk about what else can be done on Tuesday, but there still isn’t enough money to function.
In the letter to the state – Bolding said on average the department operated with a 0.27 percent margin in 2021. He said Greene County EMS covers about 660 total square miles with no paid fire department who could assist with routine EMS requests.
Gray said it’ll be more important than ever for residents to only call 9-1-1 in life-or-death situations.
“If we could do that across the state, I think we can help our whole agency as a whole,” Gray said.
Cotton is hopeful services never stop.
“Emergencies do happen, and we do need them,” Cotton said. “Ambulances save lives.”
CBS 42 has attempted to contact multiple county commissioners and other officials to see if there is a possibility for more funds to keep the department functioning. We are still waiting for a reply.
Services are set to stop on Friday 6 p.m., but other circumstances may cause them to end sooner.