Privatized EMS service to begin operation Sept. 1




Decatur County commissioners stand in front of one of the new ambulances
Decatur County commissioners stand in front of one of the new ambulances
Decatur County commissioners stand in front of one of the new ambulances

Decatur County’s privatized ambulance service will begin operation under the management of Grady EMS on Monday, Sept. 1, and officials involved with the transition say everything is in place for a smooth transition.

The new ambulance service, which will be operated by Grady EMS of Atlanta on a five-year contract, will be known as Decatur EMS (omitting the word county). Despite the name, Grady EMS has no affiliation with neighboring Grady County.

Mike Coleman, an administrator with Grady EMS, and Randy Williams, the new director of Decatur EMS,  appeared at the Decatur County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday night. Williams is a native of Miller County and has previously worked for Decatur County EMS, according to Decatur County Administrator Gary Breedlove.

They brought with them two of the three refurbished ambulances stipulated in the contract–Decatur County will keep ownership of the ambulances regardless of any future contracts in place. The new ambulances have a red, white and black color scheme and a black and white checkered pattern running along the bottom panels of the ambulance.

The ambulances, which are actually new truck chassis on remounted ambulance “boxes,” are not only better to drive, they also contain upgraded medical supplies and equipment.

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Coleman said he expects Decatur EMS’ emergency response time to improve for several reasons, including the fact that an EMS substation is being placed at a rented property in the Fowlstown community in southern Decatur County. Decatur EMS has a fleet of six ambulances, and three of them are required to be on standby at any time of day, according to the contract. One of those ambulances and two EMS employees will work out of the Fowlstown substation.

There are now 22 employees of Decatur EMS, a mix of full-time and part-time personnel. All of the full-time employees from when county commissioners ran EMS have been rehired, Williams said, and two former part-time employees have switched over to full-time. Employee orientations will be held the first week of September, and Grady EMS officials have been talking with existing employees to ensure a smooth transition.

Decatur EMS’ staff of paramedics and emergency medical technicians will be working out of a recently renovated EMS headquarters on Airport Road, as well. Everything from the sleep areas to the workrooms and common areas was essentially stripped out and rebuilt by a team of inmate workers overseen by Decatur County Prison Warden Elijah McCoy.

The public will be invited to an EMS open house being scheduled for September 11; details will be forthcoming.

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