With two or three ambulances covering all of Lafayette County, there are often times when there’s more need for medical assistance than there are ambulances available.
Oxford’s population almost doubles on home football game weekends. Other popular sporting events at FNC or the John Leslie Tennis Courts also often bring lots of visitors to town, not to mention popular community events like the Double Decker Arts Festival each April.
More people means more sick or injured people.
To help decrease the amount of time, someone having chest pains or stroke symptoms receives medical attention. The Oxford Fire Department is increasing medical training for all firefighters, who are often the first on the scene.
Oxford’s ambulance service is provided solely by Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi.
OFD has often responded to emergency medical calls at the request of EMS services to provide help to paramedics, and OFD responds to all vehicle rescue and extrication calls throughout Lafayette County through a formal agreement with the county to provide those services. Three ambulances run during the day and two operate at night. If one is transporting a patient from a nursing home to a hospital or from Baptist to The Med in Memphis, that leaves just one ambulance available at night.
City officials have received complaints over the last few years of people having to wait 20 minutes or more for an ambulance to arrive.
Emergency medical responder training was provided to all OFD firefighters from October through January, making all firefighters first responders, EMR, which is the basic level of emergency medical training.
“Based on increasing demand, and the fact Oxford was already responding to medical calls in some cases, the fire department recognized the need for uniform medical training and equipment to all fire companies to provide medical care or assistance to other agencies and the public,” said OFD Chief Mark Heath.