Gadsden-Etowah EMS remains closed; Rural Metro providing service - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Gadsden-Etowah EMS remains closed; Rural Metro providing service

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GADSDEN, Ala. -

Gadsden-Etowah Emergency Medical Services remained closed Monday following a weekend without service.

Fifteen EMS workers walked off the job Friday after weeks of working without pay.

Gadsden fire chief Stephen Carroll said the community is still fully covered and no one should be worried.

He called Rural/Metro Ambulance about 90 minutes before Friday's walk out, to ask the company to provide additional coverage.  There was a need for ambulances to work with firefighter paramedics from Gadsden fire station #9, which is the firehouse nearest to Gadsden Regional Medical Center.

"We had an ambulance in service and ready to go within 15 or 20 minutes," Rural/Metro regional director Don Bratcher said.

"We basically covered station 9's calls for the city and had crews on staff 24-7 all weekend long and we intend to do so as long as we're needed."

Bratcher said Rural/Metro was already in the process of expanding its service in Etowah County.  The company has ambulances in 700 communities in 21 states.

It may soon employ some of the unpaid Gadsden-Etowah EMS workers.

"We've had some people come over and fill out applications.  We've actually talked to many of them and done interviews, and have some of those folks in process for some opportunities," Bratcher said.

Chief Carroll wants people in Gadsden to know there will be no difference in service, "just a different colored truck" in particular parts of town.

He said Rural/Metro worked well throughout the weekend, without any glitches.

"Actually this morning we've had numerous EMS calls on the eastern end of town and every one of them had an ambulance responding to them in a timely manner," Carroll said.

"A third and fourth ambulance at times today when it's reached past the normal two that we normally take."

The owner of Gadsden-Etowah EMS, Roger Stanmore, also owns an EMS service in Decatur.  Employees there walked off the job earlier this month.  Stanmore has not responded to requests for comment.