Two months in, Parrish ambulance exceeds expectations

After two months in operation, the Parrish-stationed Emergency Medical Services ambulance is busier than anticipated, according to the county public safety director.

“It is going really well,” Bob Smith said of Medic 20, the first Manatee County ambulance stationed in Parrish. “We are working better with the fire department than we ever have before.”

The Advanced Life Support Ambulance in Parrish housed in the Parrish Fire District, went into service May 3. In the first two months of operation, the new unit is averaging six calls per day, according to Smith.

“There was definitely a need in the area for a dedicated unit,” he said. “I’d say it is definitely on track to exceed expectations. It has definitely shown some positive returns right now.”

At current call volume, this makes the county’s 19th full-time transport ambulance “already busier than some of the units in our system,” Smith said.

“The next closest unit (Medic 6 on U.S. 301 in Ellenton) has benefited already because they have run about a third less calls than they have in the past for the months of May and June,” Smith said.

Ben Jordan, president of the Parrish Civic Association, said it is nice to know the unit is closer.

“You are glad it is there but hope to never have to use it,” he said. “It is that much closer to the people. They are pleased that the unit is there.”

The new ambulance and related equipment cost $417,785, which was paid for with public safety impact fees. Personnel and operating expenses for the ambulance this year will cost approximately $263,000, which will be paid for by ambulance charges. For the following full year, it will cost an estimated $526,030.

The Parrish ambulance was the first new 24-hour ambulance the county had added in about eight years. In the 2016-17 budget, the Manatee County Commission flagged the addition of three float paramedics to consider for funding when it continues the budget process later this summer.

Smith said the float paramedics would add an additional paramedic for each shift and cut down on mandatory overtime.

“Absolutely, it would be helpful,” he said.

Claire Aronson: 941-745-7024, @Claire_Aronson

Effect of new Parrish ambulance

May call volume (Medic 20-Parrish)= 93

June call volume(Medic 20-Parrish)=99

Response times

Zone 6- geographical area surrounding the EMS station on U.S. 301 in Ellenton

May: 7:01 minutes

June: 6:21 minutes

Zone 20- geographical area surrounding the Parrish Fire Station to the far northeastern area of Manatee County

May: 8:07 minutes

June: 10:09 minutes

Source: Manatee County EMS