Ozark County Ambulance adds second staffed unit
After operating a single ambulance unit 24/7 for several years, the Ozark County Ambulance District board at its March meeting voted unanimously to move forward with plans to staff a second ambulance.
The plan will begin with an additional two-person crew, EMTs Aaron Bellcock and Joe Bogowith, who have been hired to work 12-hour shifts on select weekends. The second-unit service is expected to progress into four 10-hour days during the busiest times, based on major holiday schedules and statistics tracked by the district, including the busiest call times and days throughout the week.
The second ambulance, a back-up vehicle already owned by the district, is a basic life support unit; the current 24/7 ambulance service is an advanced life support unit.
The need for the second unit became apparent to the board as calls were missed because only one ambulance crew has been available 24/7 to serve the entire county. If that ambulance is out on a call and another call comes in, the district is forced to rely on other ambulance services to respond. “Sometimes that can mean an hour or more in response time, depending on where the need is and who is available to respond the quickest,” the board said in an announcement last week.
The district currently misses from five to 15 calls per month that are picked up by neighboring districts. “By capturing those missed calls, the district expects to cover the extra cost of staffing the second unit,” the announcement said, adding that Ozark County “is fortunate to have great working relationships with South Howell Ambulance, Taney County, Douglas County and Baxter Regional [Medical Center in Mountain Home, Arkansas].” However, the board members don’t like having to “depend on other counties to serve Ozark County and its citizens.”
The board expressed thanks to Ozark Countians for their continued support of the district and its employees.