Cotton County Could Contract for Ambulance Services

Cotton County Could Contract for Ambulance Services

When disaster strikes, an ambulance's response time could mean the difference between life and death. For more than two years, however, Cotton County, Oklahoma hasn't had an ambulance service.
Walters, Oklahoma.

A small town in Cotton County which residents describe as peaceful.

But if there were an emergency, the only ambulance in this town is the one painted on a window.

Just like the building which used to house first responders, many Walters residents said they feel abandoned.

"You try and be safe and try and protect your family, but you never know what's going to happen," said Nicole Dryden, a Walters resident and Office Manager at Indian Territory Medical Equipment, "there could be a pretty bad accident here, which I hope doesn't happen, but you never know."

For more than two years, Cotton County hasn't had an ambulance provider.

In a county with a large elderly population, that has many residents on edge.

"When you have a situation when a person is needing that service, I mean minutes count toward their life," said Lisa Tugmon, branch manager at Aspire Home Health in Walters,"if you don't have an ambulance service that can come out or at least a first responder, it's very critical."

But it's not just the elderly who may need first responders.

"I have a two year old son," said Dryden, "and it just scares me to death that something could happen to him and there's really just no one to call."

And local officials agree.

"The citizens of Cotton County deserve [an ambulance], and we need it desperately," said Cotton County Commissioner Leta Coats.

Coats said commissioners are in talks with a company called Pulse EMS, to once again start running ambulances in Cotton County.

"Right now, we're moving ahead on this, and we're trying to get an ambulance service," said Coats.

While nothing is final, Coats said the contract with Pulse would involve the County paying around $3,000 a month, and in return would receive both ambulances and paramedics.

"The people voted for one, they want one, they're entitled to one," explained Coats, "and I believe we can provide that service for them."

Some good news for local residents, who say without an ambulance, they're living on borrowed time.

Reporter's Notes by Ryan Robertson:

Commissioner Coats said at the next County Commissioner meeting on March 28th, Commissioners will hear from Pulse EMS again and could decide to sign a contract at that time.
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