Chickasaw County leaders discuss ambulance service

county_chickasaw_greenBy Floyd Ingram

Chickasaw Journal

OKOLONA – Chickasaw County is glad to answer a call for help, but supervisors have asked the local ambulance service to make sure Chickasaw taxpayers are covered first.

The Chickasaw County Board of Supervisors met with sheriff’s deputies and 911 dispatchers last week to discuss ambulance service coverage for the community.

“We got a call last weekend from Clay County 911 saying there was an ATV accident at Mudslingers and they were requesting an ambulance,” said Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy James Myers. “This is a business in Clay County that lets people ride four-wheelers and we’ve been out there several weeks in a row responding to calls.”

Myers said Clay County 911 dispatchers even argued with Chickasaw County 911 dispatchers that Mudslingers was in Chickasaw County.

“It just out the other side of Enon and it is close to the line,” Myers explained. “It is also closer for Houston or Okolona to dispatch an ambulance than for one to come from West Point out there. But it is in Clay County.”

Chickasaw County 911 Coordinator Barry Martin said he had no problem sending help to anyone who needed it but he did want direction from the board since it could leave Chickasaw County without ambulance service.

“If we have an ambulance taking someone to Tupelo and then get a call out there and then get a call in Houston or Okolona, our people are going to have to wait,” said Martin.

Both Martin and Myers pointed out Clay County is wet and Mudslingers has grown to admitting several hundred four-wheelers every weekend.

“Off-road racing like that is hazardous and those people pay to play,” said District 4 Supervisor Jerry Hall. “I don’t think it is our responsibility. I am glad for Chickasaw County to be a backup but I don’t think we need to be primary responder out there.”

The board agreed and directed Myers to contact the Clay County Sheriff’s Department and Clay County 911 about the decision.

The county is currently negotiating its contract with Transcare Medical Service who provides two ambulance in Chickasaw County. Ambulances are traditionally stationed in Houston and Okolona to serve county needs.

Trace Regional Hospital’s decision to close its emergency room and open a seven-day clinic also has prompted the county to look at getting more ambulances to cover Chickasaw County.

floyd.ingram@journalinc.com