SABINE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Early this year Sabine County residents had to wait at least 45 minutes for ambulance service. Sabine County Hospital District Administrator Diane Powell said the long waits were brought to the hospital boards attention at the beginning of the year.
"Two residents came to the board and said that they felt like there was a problem with the current ambulance service because response time was over 40 minutes," said Powell.
The complaints caught the attention of Sabine County officials.The hospital district then turn to the Acadian ambulance service and the Sabine County sheriff's office wanting some numbers.
"The reports from Acadian did not show those figures but the reports from the sheriff's office did," Powell said.
With this information, research and residents complaints, the board came to the conclusion that a second ambulance was needed. The board then contacted Acadian to get set up with a second unit but the price tag for the service was out of the budget. The hospital district then realized it would be cheaper to start their own ambulance company. The service was started in July of this year and cost cost tax payers roughly $450,000.
Gary Williams who runs the new service says about 50 percent of Sabine County residents are 65 years or older and so it's a service that is heavily used.
"Anytime anyone calls 911 for a wreck, any trauma related injury we respond," Williams said.
He further explained that now the county has three ambulances on staff and they have cut their response time to just 9 minutes.
"With response time of 9 minutes we are now able to provide a level of service like Lufkin or Nacogdoches or a larger city," Powell said.