Ambulance service contract to lapse in tri-cities area

An ambulance service at risk —That’s the reality facing almost 9,000 people in Fulton County, Fulton, and Hickman, Kentucky, as well as South Fulton, Tennessee.

The announcement came Tuesday that Tennova Healthcare – Volunteer Martin — a hospital in Martin, Tennessee — will end its ambulance service contract for those areas. City and county leaders have until Dec. 16 to figure out what to do next. That’s left people wondering what they need to do if they need to call 911.

Their first game is on Thursday, Aug.17, and they’ve trained hard to start their season off right. Fulton coach Cassidy Hill coaches the girls to play a good, clean game, but there are risks.

“People in the pitching mound and the infield positions especially, they’re at a higher risk to get hit in the face —knocked out," Hill says. 

If one of her girls was injured and no ambulance responded, it could be riskier than a high-paced game.

“You’re not only in charge of one player. You’re in charge of the whole team so if one person gets hurt I’m only one person," Hill says. 

Members from the tri-cities and Fulton County are scrambling to figure out a solution. Fulton fire chief and ambulance board member Mike Gunn says they have a lot of work ahead of them.

“We’re not talking about just this ambulance service," Gunn says. "Yes it is a Kentucky state service, but also runs in the city of South Fulton as well.”

One thing Gunn said you can do right now is pay your ambulance subsidy on your water bill. He said it’s an optional subsidy people can pay, but generally don’t.

Money is one of their bigger hurdles, especially because one of their stronger options is to run the ambulance service under a local nonprofit. So, paying that subsidy could really help.

As for what would happen if the 120 days lapsed and there wasn’t a plan in place, Gunn said he doesn’t think people should worry about figuring out a plan B just yet

If there were an emergency without an ambulance, here’s how far people in the area would have to travel:

It’s about 20 miles from Fulton, Kentucky, to Jackson Purchase Medical Center in Mayfield, Kentucky.

The closer hospitals are in Tennessee.

From Fulton to the Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City, it’s about 12 miles, and its 12 miles to the hospital in Martin.

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