GREEN POND, Ala. (WIAT) — A controversy involving ambulance response times is unfolding in Green Pond.
Parts of the town sit in the jurisdictions of both Tuscaloosa and Bibb counties, leading to longer response times for its ambulance service. According to Green Pond Fire and Rescue, which started the service back in February, the Tuscaloosa County Commission sent them a cease and desist order that prevents them from responding to any ambulance calls in Tuscaloosa County. The commission also asked them to sign a franchise agreement, but Green Pond refused to do so.
As a result, Green Pond is not getting as many calls, so instead of a 5-7 minute response time from the fire department with a transport, people are now waiting 30 to 45 minutes for the initial responder to get on the scene. In the past, Green Pond Fire used to make between five to eight ambulance calls per day. Now, that number has dropped to only one or two.
Many people who live in Green Pond are worried the next time they call for an ambulance, it will take too long. Resident Autumn Bullock believes ambulance response times could mean the difference between life and death.
“It makes me feel nervous because you can’t plan on something going wrong,” Bullock said. “You don’t plan on being sick and needing an ambulance, so it makes me super nervous and I am worried.”
Bullock said she is nervous about the possibility of an ambulance not arriving in time for an emergency.
“I would like help within 10 minutes because there was one time I had to call for my husband because we are both Type 1 diabetics and his sugar would not go up,” she said. “It kept dropping and he was super sick, and if they can’t there soon enough, he could have died.”
Those in Green Pond who call 911 now have their request routed to Tuscaloosa County or Bibb County. Lt. Cody Franklin said there have been recent cases when patients in Green Pond have waited 45 minutes.
“What upsets me the most is they are not letting us do our jobs,” Franklin said. “I signed up to be part of a department that helps a community in every way possible.”
Attempts to reach Tuscaloosa County Commission Attorney Robert Spence were not successful Wednesday.
“If there is one right down the road, why can’t we use them,” Bullock said. “Why do we have use one so far away when you need help.”