Only on 12: Richmond Co. PTA slams board decision to remove ambulances from football games

Richmond County ambulance

The school system is dumping the ambulance trucks for one or two fire department EMTs. (WRDW-TV / Aug. 3, 2012)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Aug. 3, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Augusta high school football season will soon kick off, and ambulances will be missing from the sidelines.

"The ambulances are definitely needed on site," said PTA president Monique Braswell.

Braswell is upset parents were left in the dark.

"We should have been informed because it is our children out there playing," she said.

Board of Education leaders say they made the move to try and save money.

"One of the issues is there won't be an ambulance on the premises of the high school or middle schools," said Deputy Superintendent Tim Spivey. "But there is an ambulance within five minutes of all the middle school and high schools."

Braswell says that is not good enough.

"Five minutes can make a big difference in the injury of a child," she said.

The school system is dumping the ambulance trucks for one or two fire department EMTs. They will have a backboard and a jump bag.

Spivey says the move will save the system $24,000.

"$24,000 is not enough money to put a child's life in danger," Braswell said.

"We feel like the plan we are going to go with is going to be equal to or better than we had before," Spivey said.

Gold Cross crews disagree.

"If the patient is in cardiac arrest, if it's a life-threatening emergency," said Matt Paynter with Gold Cross, "they don't have time to wait for additional equipment to get there. It needs to be there."

"You don't feel parents should have been notified?" we asked Spivey.

"Probably in hindsight, it might have helped," Spivey said. "We still feel like it's a good decision."

Braswell could not disagree more.

"Put the $24,000 back into the ambulance," Braswell said. "We need to have the physical ambulance sitting outside."

Gold Cross calls the move unfair. They say they never had a chance to bid on the reduced services.

The deputy superintendent says they will monitor the games to see how things go. He says the system is not against reversing the decision if it becomes necessary.


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