BCEMS plan calls for three halls

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Bedford County Emergency Medical Services' revised growth plan, presented last month to the county commission's budget and finance committee, calls for three new stations to keep up with growth in the northern third of the county.

Currently, average ambulance response times in those areas exceed 11 minutes. The American Heart Association says that brain damage can begin after just 4-6 minutes from when a patient's heart stops beating, and so shorter response time to an emergency increases the chances of survival and recovery for a cardiac patient.

A new station and headquarters would be built in the vicinity of the new Bedford County Medical Center. BCMC has offered to set aside a site on its campus for BCEMS, but it's not clear whether that would be sufficient, especially since BCEMS is talking about sharing the hall with Volunteer Fire Services Inc. In any case, BCEMS would want to locate in the general area of Shelbyville's northern corridor.

A new station in the Unionville area, perhaps at the old fire hall, would replace the current station on the grounds of Tennesse Fire Services and Codes Enforcement Academy, and a third station would be built in the Cascade School area.

The cost for all three stations is estimated at $1,187,268. Because discussion at the finance committee didn't make it clear that three stations were being considered, a news report at that time made it seem as if that figure were the cost of the BCMC station alone.

Although the BCMC-area station would become the new headquarters for BCEMS, it would continue to operate its current station on Union Street, next door to the current BCMC facility.

The growth plan submitted to the finance comittee includes a map of BCEMS's call volume between 2002 and 2005. Obviously, most of the red dots representing calls are located within the City of Shelbyville. But beyond that, the northwestern quadrant of the county is peppered with the most calls.

The finance committee is currently looking at ways of funding the BCEMS request.