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The Villages
Saturday, June 12, 2021

Ambulance union accusing Villages firefighters of making false statements

The union representing American Medical Response ambulance personnel has accused firefighters in The Villages of “recent statements known to contain false and misleading information.”

AMR, a private company, operates the familiar blue ambulances of Sumter County EMS. The company has recently come under fire from residents of The Villages who have experienced long wait times for ambulances.

The Sumter County ambulance service, operated by American Medical Response, has faced heavy criticism due to lengthy response times.

The Professional Firefighters of The Villages issued a statement earlier this month after Sumter County Administrator Bradley Arnold floated a plan that could end The Villages Public Safety Department’s response to most medical calls in The Villages. In the statement, the firefighters’ union said it continues to “provide a higher level of care due to our commitment to this community that we have proudly served for over 20 years. Our response times, cardiac arrest save rate, and ISO rating are among the top in the nation. There is NO private provider that is going to come close to providing the service, care, or compassion that we provide day in and day out.” The union also pointed with pride to its four-and-a-half-minute response time. 

That apparently rankled International Association of EMTs and Paramedics Local 92 President Stewart Eubanks.

IAEP Local 92 President Stewart Eubanks
IAEP Local 92 President Stewart Eubanks

“Our members have been a fixture in this community for the last decade and care deeply for the patients they serve. The numbers tell the story, and we know the truth. Why is it that only now the Villages Fire Department is publicly claiming our service is somehow substandard?” he asked.

The IAEP statement also alleged growing tensions between AMR ambulance crews and firefighters in The Villages.

“Currently, AMR EMS shares stations with multiple fire units in Sumter County and in most cases experiences little to no friction. In Villages Fire Department units however, the providers clash on a regular basis. In their blind pursuit of control for EMS services the VFD has now ousted all but two AMR units. As a result, the members of Local 92 are now pointlessly forced to respond to Village 911 calls from greater distances. Even presented with these challenges the members of Sumter EMS have maintained a consistent quality of care,” the statement said.

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