CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - Houston County officials are taking a deep breath after Lifeguard Ambulance Service had a smooth transition into the sole EMS provider for the majority of Houston County and the city of Crockett.
"It was an awarding feeling, and it was like a big weight lifted off of our shoulders,” County Judge Erin Ford said. "Lifeguard moved in and picked up seamlessly"
Ford said it was a short and stressful time, but he was never worried the county would go without an EMS service.
Lifeguard Vice President of Operations Jason Kimbrell said what happened with the switch over was rare.
“The typical start-up takes six months,” Kimbrell said. “We did it in less than 30 days. There is a lot to say to that. That is difficult unless you have the right partners. We have been impressed by the support from Judge Ford, the Hospital Board, and fire departments. What has occurred over the last 30 days as a healthcare community is noteworthy.”
ETMC initially gave a deadline of March 14 for service, but after Ford and the Commissioners Court showed how hard they were working in a shorter time then the contract said was needed for a pull out, ETMC officials added two weeks and insured no lapse in service.
“ETMC did a great job they passed off a quality service,” Kimbrell said.
The new set up by Lifeguard EMS has four ambulances and one paramedic vehicle, and it didn't take long for them to be used.
On the first day of service, Lifeguard responded 12 times. Nine of those were emergency calls.
"If I was one of those 12 calls and I needed an ambulance, I would have been very concerned if we did not have it,” Ford said.
Lifeguard Lt. Callie Morgan said the staff in place is all from the area and has safety as their top goal.
"We are here 24 hours a day,” Morgan said. “We sleep here, and we live here. This is our home. This is where I spend 24 hours of my day with my family in the EMS."
It's a promise that Ford and other officials find comforting