QUINWOOD, WV (WOAY) – Quinwood Ambulance Services which operated in the western end of Greenbrier County officially closed on Monday after 40 years.
According to Mike Honaker, Greenbrier County’s Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, it all started with complaints to the county commission about long wait times.
“When we conducted our inquiry into the ambulance services, we found some lengthy response times that concerned us as well as the fact they were operating with only one ambulance,” Honaker said.
In July, the county commission voted to allow White Sulphur Springs Emergency Services to also start covering the area.
The county commission eventually split them up into two regions.
That is when when Quinwood began to financially struggle as their call volume went from up to 180 calls a month to about 53 this past month.
They went from 18 full-time employees to 9 and 4 part-time.
Vice President and paramedic Serena Davis refutes the claims that the issues with the services were reoccurring.
She says when they were down an ambulance or a crew, they always fixed the problem as quickly as possible.
“They made it sound like that was something that happened quite frequently and that’s not true. We’ve always had three or four ambulances running, sometimes five or six. We scheduled up to four crews and had four crews running regularly,” she said.
That is why Quinwood filed a Freedom of Information Act request and the county was able to provide the response times and call sheets, but what Quinwood wanted was a list of the complaints from people about wait times.
“And of course we don’t have any type of list like that and I informed them that we didn’t, and I informed them that even if we did, because of its sensitive nature and because of the potential for retaliation a document like that would be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, but it doesn’t exist,” Honaker said.
Honaker says there is no agenda to why they added the extra ambulance service other than meeting the needs of the people in the area and that his office met with Quinwood Ambulance several times about the issues.
Now after 40 years, the ambulance service ran its final calls on Sunday night. Davis says she worries about the impact this will have on the community.
“No one knows our patients like we do, and they know us and they’re comfortable with us, and that bothers me,” she said. “But there’s also patients in the outlying areas across the county lines on the Nicholas County and the Fayette County side that I worry are going to have to wait.”
Davis says Quinwood will continue to work Greenbrier West football games for the remainder of the season.
For now, White Sulphur Springs Ambulance will be the sole provider.