LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – In any emergency, a 911 caller expects the best care, and fast. That’s why the Buechel Fire Department added an ambulance into the mix.
“That is potentially one of the worst days of their life,” Taylor Preston, an EMT new to the team.
“They don't have to wait ten, fifteen minutes and I know just a few minutes feels like an eternity for them, so, it's really nice knowing we're right there and in a matter of minutes they can feel some relief and some comfort,” Preston explained.
She's one of eight new EMTs saving lives with the Buechel Fire Department. The ambulance hit the streets about two months ago, after an extreme increase in 911 calls. Many are due to the opioid epidemic.
“There was a time when we were making 5 or 600 calls of service a year and that number has quadrupled, we're in the thousands these days,” Jordan Yuodis, Buechel Fire’s Public Information Officer, said.
It's taken two years and a .10 cent tax increase to get here, but Chief Adam Jones says it's worth it.
“You can touch and feel the ambulance, you see that you're getting an increased service you're getting decreased response times and anytime the response times go down you're obviously increasing your ability to stay alive,” Jones explained.
Taylor said people have already taken notice.
“They’re like, 'oh we just called' and it's like, we're right around the corner so that's a really good feeling.”
The extra set of wheels will always carry a paramedic. That means you're getting advanced life support compared to basic life support from firefighter EMTs, and it also allows firefighters to be free for other important calls.
This is on trend with several county fire departments around Kentucky, including Middletown-Anchorage Fire and Jeffersontown Fire.
How things work at Buechel: The EMTs work a 12-hour shift, compared to the firefighter’s 24-hour shift, but EMTs do get their own room to live out of.
Preston told WHAS11 News they already feel like part of the family.