New Ambulance Rolls Into Collinsville

Friday, September 8th 2006, 10:19 am

By: News On 6

The struggle to provide ambulance service to the town of Collinsville. The News on 6 told you two weeks ago how both of the city's ambulances had broken down, leaving citizens without local coverage in an emergency. The nearest responder was 15 minutes away.

Now, Collinsville has a brand-new unit, ready to roll, but as News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin explains, some still wonder if the city is still just putting a Band-Aid on the situation?

Rick Bronson, Regional EMS administrator: "They were not able to take care of their citizens in their town." It was mid-August when Collinsville EMS found itself with two broken down ambulances. Emergency workers quickly borrowed a unit from another town, in an effort to keep up state required response times.

But a state inspection found not only did they not meet that goal. Collinsville EMS had been faltering for months, often with only one working ambulance. The city agreed to buy a new truck, which rolled into service last week.

Collinsville city manager Pam Polk: "You know that you've got something new and that it’s not gonna break down on you anywhere and it gives a lot better service to our citizens."

State Health Department officials say as long as Collinsville has two running, fully staffed ambulances, the city is in compliance with state requirements. Pam Polk: “Each entity has got their rules and that's to maintain the safety and we want to go by the rules."

Collinsville has been making up for the required second truck through a series of loaners from nearby towns. The most recent back-up unit had to be returned, leaving Collinsville once again with only one working ambulance.

Polk says the city is trying to correct the situation. "We've got the coverage, we will provide the service and will keep our citizens safe."

The Collinsville city manager, which earlier Friday told the News on 6, the EMS department ‘was’ in compliance, now says the town will lease a second ambulance.

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