Atlanta officials to launch city-owned ambulance service due to agency's delays

$4 million is budgeted for a new station, which is scheduled to be completed by October


By Leila Merrill

ATLANTA —Atlanta officials are planning to start the city’s own ambulance service in southwest Atlanta.

The ambulances will be based at a new EMS station in an area that has historically had gaps in ambulance service. The station is scheduled to be completed by October and is funded by $4 million in bonds approved last year.

The decision follows a pattern of delays at Grady EMS, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. The delayed ambulance arrivals endanger patients and makes fire crews wait for Grady crews to arrive to take care of patients, freeing up the fire crews to respond to other calls.

The Atlanta Fire Department has spent $250,000 to buy two ambulances and so it can begin transporting patients.

Grady officials acknowledged longer wait times for some calls and a staffing shortage but said the broader criticism is unwarranted. Last month, they restructured Grady’s dispatch system.

“We are constantly looking at methods to do it better,” said Grady EMS operations head Erin Vickery.

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