Petal exploring possible change in ambulance service

Petal exploring possible change in ambulance service
City of Petal says they have problems with response times. Photo credit WDAM

PETAL, MS (WDAM) - The city of Petal said it has a problem with response times when it comes to emergency situations, according to Petal Mayor Hal Marx and Petal Assistant Fire Chief Marion Sims.

"The fire department brought to my attention that we are having some issues with AAA ambulance getting on the scene of some medical emergencies in what they consider to be a reasonable response time," Marx said. "They kept coming to me, I think the (fire department) had been reaching out to AAA and nothing seemed to be improving. So we began to investigate other options, and we've been talking to lifeguard," Marx said.

AAA provides its services to the city of Petal for free, and bringing in Lifeguard would cost an unknown amount of money.

But Sims said it is not about the cost.

"Anything is worth the cost. An ambulance service is life or death and that's what they're here for," Sims said.

Marx said while the service may be free, the people of Petal are also county taxpayers.

"The people who pay for the ambulance service pay for it as they use it," Marx said.

AAA CEO Wade Spruill said this comes as a surprise.

"We are not aware of any call where that has happened," Spruill said. "We have a great relationship with the city of Petal as far as we know. We look forward to hearing their concerns so we can fix it, but we have not met with the mayor or anyone from the city of Petal."

Spruill said communication is key in fixing a potential problem.

"I think there has been some errors in what people have been told, and the only way to fix that is to sit down and mitigate," he said.

Lifeguard ambulance services responded to WDAM 7 New's request for a statement. They said they have talked with the city of Petal, but any dialogue has been informal.