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City to vote on lease agreement with Lifeguard (Medstar) Ambulance Sept. 13

The Atmore City Council on Sept. 13 will be asked to approve a lease with Lifeguard (Medstar) Ambulance, which will enhance public safety and emergency medical service to the citizens of the city, officials said in a release.

At present, the emergency response and ambulance service has been severely curtailed and poses a real problem for the community, officials said.

In July, the Escambia County Health Care Authority (ECHCA) entered into a contract with Lifeguard to provide both ambulance and medical air evacuation for the Atmore area of Escambia County.

“Pursuant to that contract, the city is entering into a lease of the current fire facility on the south part of town where ambulances will be located and available for emergency use on a 24/7 basis, 365 days a year,” Mayor Jim Staff said in a release. “This is a vast improvement over the current system.”

City officials said questions have been raised about the effect of the ambulance service on the current fire service throughout the city.

“The city’s current experience is that fire calls amount to only a small percentage of runs by the department,” Staff said. “On the other hand, medical emergency and other calls constitute the majority of response calls. Response records show that over the last five years, fire calls averaged 13 percent of the response runs while medical response and others averaged 87 percent.

“To this extent, the new arrangement will greatly increase public safety and public health and will not have a substantial effect on fire response,” he said.

Fire Chief Ronald Peebles said this change will not affect the city’s I.S.O. rating, which affects homeowners’ premiums. Additionally, it should not affect the average response time that currently exists for fire response, he said.