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Opponents Sound Alarm Over Proposed Changes In Ambulance Service

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ZEBULON, N.C. — Budget cuts are forcing Wake County leaders to consider a proposal that moves ambulance service from certain communities to others. Some say that is a gamble with the community's safety.

In Zebulon, two ambulances respond to nearly 1,700 calls a year. The county is considering a plan that would have one ambulance serve the town between the hours of 10 p.m. and 10 a.m.

Knightdale and Wendell would also go from two ambulances to one -- meaning most of eastern Wake County would have half as many ambulances.

"It concerns me that we are putting a price tag on the community, potentially saying they aren't worth the expense," said Matt Masters of Knightdale EMS.

Zebulon's EMS chief says taking three ambulances away at once is too much too fast.

He suggests the county try a more gradual approach and questions the data the recommendation is based on because it was taken during the winter, the slowest time of year.

Dr. Brent Myers has the difficult task of making sure all of Wake County is covered.

"We would love to have an ambulance on every corner, but that is not a possibility," said Myers, medical director of Wake County EMS.

Myers says his plan would be to redistribute ambulances from eastern Wake County to northern Wake County -- an area he says is underserved.

"Let's look at some of the trucks that aren't as busy and see how we can't reallocate those resources without endangering public safety. That's the discussion we are having right now," Myers said.

Both sides hope to reach a compromise.

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