Pending loose ends, county contracts with Keller EMS

Franklin County is on the cusp of a new – and anticipated, better – ambulance service.

The Franklin County Commission Monday voted to give Chairman Barry Moore authority to sign agreements to contract with Keller EMS to provide ambulance service for Russellville, Red Bay and Franklin County. The commission also authorized Moore to finalize the termination agreement with Shoals Ambulance, which has held the exclusive ambulance contract for Russellville, Red Bay and the county for the past two years.

Pending the dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s – hopefully, Moore said, before the week is out – Keller EMS will provide service for the county and cities. Primarily, all that’s left to iron out is legal terminology.

“We think we can provide a good service and model it after what we have in Colbert County that’s been successful for so many years,” said Bruce Carson, director of emergency services for Keller EMS. “We’ve been in business over 30 years, and we’ve seen a lot of ambulance services come and go – a lot of private companies have come through Colbert, Franklin and Lauderdale counties, and through time, all these years, we have stood the test of time.”

Shoals Ambulance’s service, EMS Committee members agreed during meetings in recent months, has been far from adequate. EMS Committee Chairman Brandon James said the committee is optimistic about the amount and quality of coverage Keller will provide.

“They are a reputable company. They have been around for a while,” James said. “We know a lot of people who work there, and they have great medics and a great system. The other companies were great too … but we feel as a service as a whole, Keller was our best choice.”

Bids on the contract also came in from First Response Ambulance and Lifeguard Ambulance Service.

James said Keller will provide coverage in far expanded terms as compared to Shoals Ambulance’s service standards. Pending tying up all the loose ends, Keller is set to provide five ambulances for the county: a staffed 24-hour in Red Bay, a staffed 24-hour in Russellville, a staffed 12-hour in Russellville, a 12-hour on standby in Red Bay and one truck dedicated to transports/private line calls.

“We appreciate the committee and the work they have done on this,” Moore said.

It’s a partnership for which there is a lot of enthusiasm on both sides.

“Watching Franklin County struggle with some of the other providers,” Carson said, “we thought we could try to offer what we have been blessed with in Colbert County.”

 

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