SOUTHERN DELAWARE COUNTY – Another card has been placed on the table in the continuing debate over what to do about the West Siloam Springs ambulance crisis.
Residents of southern Delaware County were offered another option to get ambulance service after Siloam Springs, AR ambulances dropped their service to Oklahoma on December 31, 2008.
West Siloam Springs Mayor Elaine Carr said she has been approached by Pulse, a Pawhuska, OK based ambulance service.
Representatives of the ambulance service met with Carr and other interested city officials and residents t during a meeting held January 13th.
According to the representatives, the area that is now being served by Siloam Springs, AR, can be served by one of their ambulances at a cost of $7,500 a month. That cost includes one ambulance, a driver and an EMS specialist.
The company also requested a building with living quarters.
Pulse representatives say they will serve West Siloam Springs, Colcord, Watts and all other rural areas in the vicinity.
Carr said that if any of the surrounding communities do not want to come on board, they will be without an ambulance service.
“West Siloam Springs can’t foot the bill for everybody,” said Carr. “If any of the towns do not want to contribute, the closest ambulance service will be Oaks and Jay.”
A public meeting has been set for anyone interested in the issue. The meeting will be held at the Moseley School starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 22. Representatives from Pulse will be in attendance.
“We encourage residents of Colcord, Watts and those rural areas to attend. This is very important to them as well,” said Carr.
At the present time, Siloam Springs is covering the West Siloam Springs city limits at a cost of $202,000 a year, or $16,833.00 a month.
Cherokee Nation Enterprises became the answer to a prayer for West Siloam Springs when they offered to foot the bill for the service in an agreement last December.
“This is only temporary funding. We are in the process of trying to pass a 3 mill increase on Colcord and Moseley school districts and we hope to pass a 1¢ sales tax increase for the town of West Siloam Springs,” Carr explained.
She signed a monthly contract for ambulance service with the city of Siloam Springs earlier this month.
The exact service boundaries have already come into question.
“There are some temporary areas they’re covering right now outside of the city limits. We’re trying to get some specific boundaries on who’s in the city limits and who’s not,” said West Siloam Springs Police Chief Larry Barnett. “After these boundaries are set in place, the ambulance out of Siloam Springs will only serve those living within the city limits.”
On January 7, confusion about the boundaries could have had dire consequences for a woman who fell in a hay barn while trying to feed horses along New Life Ranch Road.
According to Chief Larry Barnett, who responded to the call, she was barely conscious. An Oaks ambulance was called for but before any specifics from the 911 dispatchers could be determined, the call ended. Jay was then toned out to respond. By the time help arrived, one hour had passed.
According to Chief Barnett, the woman managed to crawl to a place where she had a signal on her cell phone and call 911 for help.
She was taken by helicopter to the Siloam Springs Hospital.