Growing up in the Tug Valley area in the 1960s, I can remember seeing the Williamson Life Saving Crew red ambulance roll by our house along U.S. 52 in Nolan. That service was ran by the Williamson Fire Department WFD) and at the time was the only ambulance service in the county.
Fast-forward to 2016 and you may see the WFD running an ambulance again within the city limits.
Although it is only in the planning stages, WFD Fire Chief Joey Carey has been crunching the numbers to add an ambulance to their fleet of emergency vehicles.
The Mingo County Commission has agreed to lease an ambulance to the city of Williamson for a reasonable fee. Carey secured that deal recently with the county commissioners.
We think this would be an excellent addition for the city of Williamson and its residents.
Mayor Robert Carlton supports the plan and hopes that city council will agree.
The firemen of the WFD already make emergency calls, but have to roll out a fire truck to do so. They can only give first aid and other treatment while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. With the addition of the ambulance service for the WFD, they will now be able to go ahead and transport the patient or victim to the hospital. This will save lives because in many emergencies quick response can be the difference between life and death. In calls involving heart attacks, stroke or a horrific accident, the quicker someone can be transported to the emergency room, the more likely they will survive.
The addition of the ambulance service by the WFD will also add much needed revenue to the fire department. The city will be able to bill insurance companies for ambulance calls. Carey has been working with a company that does contract billing for these types of services.
There are still a few wrinkles to be ironed out. Manpower and payrolls are just a couple of things to work out. The WFD already has firemen and EMTs on staff, but may need to hire a couple of more, which would provide jobs for the area.
The projected numbers for adding the ambulance to the WFD look like they will work. There is an old saying, nothing ventured – nothing gained.
This looks like a win-win situation for the City, WFD and its citizens.
The Williamson Daily News supports this effort and hopes that the City Council will also do the same.