CARTER COUNTY (WJHL) – Good news for two Tri-Cities communities just days away from losing their local ambulance service. There’s a plan to keep the EMS stations open, at least a few more days.
The head of Carter County EMS said he had no choice but to close the Hampton and Roan Mountain EMS headquarters this coming Friday, after the Carter County Commission refused to increase funding in the upcoming budget.
“It’s ridiculous and unbelievable,” a Roan Mountain resident said. “We trusted you, you fix the problem.”
Before the Carter County Budget Committee met Monday evening, people in the Roan Mountain and Hampton communities were in fear after learning their local EMS headquarters would close, meaning the nearest ambulance would be a long drive away.
“That is an indictment, a commitment to the people, that you are indicted to die in case you have an emergency,” said the Roan Mountain resident.
EMS Director Terry Arnold said without the funding increase, he’d have no choice.
“And that really upset me knowing (my family) would be up there with no one being able to get (the EMS) if they really needed it,” said Teresa Hardin.
“You have to take care of this, no matter what,” said another Carter County resident at the Monday meeting. “You have been elected to do that.”
So all sides proposed a deal: the County Commission gives a $160,000, one-time payout to the rescue squad to keep the Hampton and Roan Mountain stations open, while a committee forms to develop a long-term plan.
The motion passed, and gave hope to residents. “I believe we’re going to get to keep all our rescue squads now,” Hardin said.
A lifeline for two communities, that still needs final approval. That final approval may come when the deal is presented to the full Carter County Commission on Monday, August 17th.
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