City considers EMS District, ambulance service

Starkville Fire Department Chief Charles Yarbrough presents a powerpoint to discuss a potential EMS District and Ambulance service within city limits during the Starkville Board of Aldermen work session on Friday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Logan Kirkland
Staff Writer

The Starkville Board of Aldermen discussed the possibility of establishing an EMS District and ambulance service in the city limits during its work session Friday. Starkville Fire Department Chief Charles Yarbrough provided a presentation on the benefits of having these services within the city limits.

The company the city would partner with is Pafford EMS.

Yarbrough said the strengths of having this service will add a more rapid emergency response time, free EMS and firefighter training and an experienced workforce with community familiarity.

One of the biggest points Yarbrough made was there would not be an expenditure to the city.

The opportunities this service would provide the city is provide more jobs for the community, provide advanced life support within 10 minutes and there would be an ambulance within each district.

Yarbrough presented numbers during the meeting to show the need of the services within the community.

In 2014, the SFD responded to 335 fire alarm calls, 88 fires, 215 good intent calls and 746 medical calls.

In 2017, SFD saw an increase responding to 517 fire alarm calls, 93 fires, 256 good intent calls and 1127 medical calls.

Yarbrough said the city should implement this program because it will allow them to ultimately save more lives.

"When we arrive on scene, we're limited to what we can do, this will allow the SFD to provide life-saving services in a timely manner," Yarbrough said. "Time is everything."

There will be four areas dedicated for these services.

Yarbrough said the cost of the service would include providing a place to house the personnel, vehicles and supplies, possible renovation to Station One, a place to store reserve vehicles and rescue trailers and an EMS Liaison Officer and Deputy Chief.

Yarbrough said the benefits of this service would include four new ambulances, free EMS training for the fire department, save money on training and generate revenue through courses and lowering the city's fire rating to a three.

During the meeting, Mayor Lynn Spruill said she had notified Administrator and CEO of OCH Richard Hilton about the city's potential of acquiring these services.

Ambulances would still handle calls from the county, and the city services would stay specifically in the city limits.

Spruill said she is grateful Yarbrough has taken an aggressive approach to potentially bring this service to the city. She said she doesn't see much of a downside, but to be cognizant of the "early stages" of developing these services.

"First and foremost, it's an opportunity to save lives and serve our residents with a higher level of medical care that can come quickly from multiple locations," Spruill said. "That ability to provide higher quality of service in a quicker timeframe is paramount."