Ambulance availability was the central topic of the Ambulance Oversight Board meeting Tuesday evening, Sept. 4.

The Board, made up of representatives from county and city governments, as well as hospital and school representatives, heard a presentation from 911 head Judy Wells of statistics which included ambulance system performance in the county. Reviewed were the two providers in the county: Medic One, which gained the contract to be the county service in January, and Fairfield Bay Ambulance Service.

Included was a total of 1,505 ambulance calls this year, a number which included calls which were later cancelled or calls for a patient to be transferred from one site to another. From here the discussion quickly moved to times when no ambulance was available in the county. Well’s numbers included times when Medic One covered when Fairfield Bay did not have an ambulance available, and Fairfield Bay covering for Medic One being out, 13 and 49 since Jan. 1, respectively.

The real interest was in the number of times without an ambulance available in the county. In Well’s report the number 221 was used, but this was quickly broken down as an accounting point, showing any time the county was without an ambulance for a minute, a quick work-through, however, lowered that number to 18 times since Jan. 1 when an ambulance was not available.

Wells and the group reviewed that at times when a caller was told there would be a longer wait than usual, the decision was made to transport the person by either private vehicle, by a responding county deputy’s car, or they were taken by a first responder.

This number of “longer wait that usual” times, the group learned, had been diminishing over time since tracking beginning Jan. 1.

Wells explained after the meeting that the process for ambulance delays requires an ambulance service to call up its on-call crew. An on-call crew can take several minutes or longer before that ambulance is ready to respond to a call, she said.

Part of the ability in meeting delays is both Fairfield Bay and Medic One ambulance have mutual aid agreements with surrounding counties, Wells said.