Emergency Calls Increasing In Chattooga

Emergency calls into the 911 Center continue to increase as well as the petty calls, according to Chattooga County 911 records.
Last year Redmond EMS responded to 5,236 emergency calls in Chattooga County. Out of those calls, they transported 3,286 people to area hospitals.
That means about 2,000 calls were not emergencies or did not require a trip to the hospital.
Many of the calls into 911 are unnecessary. For example, recently a Trion woman was arrested for calling EMS 14 times in one month. Among those calls was a request for paramedics to check her blood sugar. That call landed her in jail for interfering with 911 services.
This Trion incident is one of many non-emergency calls. Ambulances are called to people with toothaches, headaches or people feeling anxious or who stubbed their toe or had a flea bite.
“You really cannot say which one is an emergency and which one is not. What might be an emergency to one person may not be to another,” according to Chattooga 911 Director Fran Hamilton.
For example, a headache call might be indicative of something larger, like an aneurysm. It’s not up to 911 to play doctor, according to Hamilton.
“It’s not our place to say what requires an ambulance,” Hamilton said.
Admittedly, she confesses it’s hard seeing an ambulance tied up on a toothache call when someone down the road is having a heart attack.
“Those are the hard calls,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton has noticed the trend where people are calling 911 more and more for medical services. She doesn’t know if this is a reflection on the local population aging or if more people are using ambulances as a taxi service.
“Some people don’t have a way to a hospital,” Hamilton said. “They really don’t have a choice. It’s sad that things are that way.”
Back when Chattooga County owned the ambulance service in 2009, EMS had 4,629 calls. Six years later that number jumped to 5,049 calls.
Calls for medical service continues to climb each year despite the county’s population remaining stagnate or declining, according to the U.S. Census.
Despite the growing number of calls, 911 operates will continue dispatching calls to EMS and other emergency responders, no matter how banal the call may seem, according to Hamilton.

2 Comments

  1. Concerned Citizen on December 17, 2018 at 2:45 am

    Didn’t I just read about 911 wrongly firing a veteran, who loved that job and wanted it back? Why isn’t this county hiring him back to help with this increase in calls?

  2. Bart on December 18, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Yeah I read that story about the 911 firing that vet as well. Seems like some people need to reevaluate.

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