Local News

Wake Ambulances Stretched to Limit

Posted February 14, 1997

— Wake County's Emergency Medical Service is feeling the effects of the county's dramatic growth. In 1996, it responded to almost twice the number of emergency calls as in 1988 -- but with the same number of ambulances -- six.

Six vehicles served the county in 1988, when 14,495 calls came in. But 1996 had at least 26,000 calls -- and the final figures aren't in yet.

Wake County Manager Richard Stevens says it's a matter of growth, and that it's necessary to respond to the demands of growth. The Wake County Commissioners have given initial approval for two more ambulances to be added.

The EMS staff is doing the best it can with what they have, and so far no one has been in danger.

The vehicles and staff are deployed to help each other out when there are more calls than can be handled in one area. So if the vehicle assigned downtown is on a call, the one based out at the fairgrounds may be called to back up another emergency in the downtown area.

Stevens says it is like dominos, with one county area helping another. But, as he says, "There aren't enough dominos."

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