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Lifeguard sets up shop in Hartselle

Lifeguard ambulance service began serving all of Morgan County Wed., July 1 with bases in Hartselle, Falkville and Cotaco.

The Hartselle base is on College Street near the Hartselle Police Department. The Falkville base is on Culver Road in the building used by Crossroads EMS last year, and the Cotaco base is at the volunteer fire department.

Hartselle and Falkville have had several EMS providers in the last 18 months, but this new switch to a county-wide ambulance service is geared toward giving them more stability. Having one service respond to the entire county (with the exception of Decatur and Trinity) gives the provider more call volume, which justifies more ambulances and stations in the area. Lifeguard is an established EMS provider with services in multiple states throughout the southeast.

Lifeguard will have a 24–hour truck stationed in both Falkville and Cotaco with a 24-hour truck, a 12-hour truck and a quick response vehicle in Hartselle. Hartselle will also house a spare truck in case something happens to one of the other ambulances.

A quick response vehicle is a Ford Expedition that carries all the same equipment as an ambulance except a stretcher. It is more maneuverable and quicker than an ambulance. It will be dispatched in all high acuity situations, including car accidents with injuries, strokes, heart attacks and more life-threatening calls.

Lifeguard emphasizes the techniques that they can perform on scene rather than having to wait until they reach the hospital. Each ambulance is staffed with a paramedic and an EMT.

They hired a full local workforce, offering a job to any of incumbent Samaritan’s personnel that met their qualifications.

Wes Harrell, Lifeguard’s business developer, explained their dynamic deployment model.

“We are constantly looking at our calls and adjusting accordingly,” Harrell said. “When one ambulance is dispatched, we move another ambulance closer to the area in case it is needed while the other is out. It’s like a game of chess, so we are strategically placing our vehicles where they are most useful.”

Lifeguard is the county-wide provider for at least five other counties besides Morgan County, so they are accustomed to operating efficiently over a large coverage area. They are guaranteeing a 20 minute response time throughout the county.

“It made sense for us to come to Morgan County,” Harrell said. “We thought this area would be a great fit for Lifeguard, and we can establish ourselves in North Alabama. The area’s safety and benefit is our number one priority. We want to be the best part of the worst part of someone’s day.”

Lifeguard Vice President Jason Kimbrell said Morgan County and Lifeguard were a perfect fit for each other.

“Lifeguard quickly found Morgan County as a community rich with history and cultural treasures that we very much wanted to be a part of and ultimately call home,” Kimbrell said. “Lifeguard is an industry-leading EMS service that will bring to the community the best practices that will increase ambulance access to the community, improve quality and offer long-term sustainability to the community.”

Harrell said Lifeguard strives to provide the highest level of patient care available today.

“About ninety percent of our calls are about compassion,” Harrell said. “We have the most highly trained personnel that are trained to not only provide life-saving services but also to show compassion. That’s what sets us apart. We go above and beyond on every call.”

Lifeguard makes a point to acknowledge each patient upon arrival, explain any procedures, inform patients of the duration of their trip and what to expect while in their care as well as thank the patient for allowing them to be of service. They also conduct call backs to check on patients once they are out of their care.

“We are investing in Morgan County, and we want to let everyone know we are excited to be here,” Harrell said. “They first thing we did was become a member of the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce and become a platinum sponsor of Depot Days. We may be a big company, but we are still local, small town people.”