Hawkins County commissioners held a meeting today to improve life-saving measures.
The EMA Public Safety Committee met today to discuss rules and regulations for the two ambulance services that serve the county. Emergency officials tell us there is an invisible boundary line that divides the county.
The committee offered a solution Thursday to create quicker response times during an emergency.
Emergency calls in Hawkins County go to the 911 center, but where you live determines which ambulance service picks you up. "The boundary line right now between Hawkins County and Church Hill EMS is east of Surgoinsville City, east of Surgoinsville, and just before you get into Church Hill city limits," said Gay Murrell, Director of Hawkins County 911.
She said that boundary line can delay response time when dispatching emergency workers. "We could have a call that is close to that boundary line that is Hawkins County and Church Hill has an ambulance inside Surgoinsville City, and that ambulance is closer is not dispatched to that call," Murrell added.
County commissioner Robert Palmer said the name on the ambulance doesn't matter to patients. "They just want to be treated, and get the emergency care they deserve," Palmer said.
Good emergency care is something EMS workers want to do more efficiently. "In our business, seconds count," Murrell said.
Gary Murrell is the director of the Hawkins County Emergency Management Agency said answering that call may require a change. "We have actually had ambulances pass ambulances in Hawkins County going on calls. That's not good," Gary Murrell said.
One solution is attaching a GPS unit to each ambulance in the county to alleviate some of the tie-ups. The system would allow 911 dispatchers to locate each individual ambulance when answering calls.
"We'll be able to move those ambulances around and give you the help that you need quicker," Gay Murrell said.
The proposed GPS attachment has not been finalized. All of this discussion comes as at least one other ambulance service has submitted a proposal to begin running calls in Hawkins County.
The public safety committee will be meeting again on September 12 at 10 a.m. to discuss some of these regulations in more detail.