As fate would have it, AMR Ambulance’s first night on the roads was Sunday during an intense thunderstorm, but officials said the process went relatively smooth, considering the high winds and rain. As of Monday, July 1, AMR replaced Procarent’s Yellow Ambulance as the primary ambulance provider for both Owensboro and Daviess County.
Facing several downed trees and power lines, as well as a number of structure fires, AMR Operation Manager Jamie Hardin said Sunday night’s event was harder on the local fire departments than on ambulance personnel.
“It was eventful. We went live Sunday night at 7 p.m. and the storm rolled up right at 7,” Hardin said. “Every fire department in the county was out, but we actually weren’t that busy. There were a couple structure fires we stood by on, but there weren’t any major problems.”
Hardin said one thing that’s kept the transition running smoothly is that many on Yellow Ambulance’s staff made the switch to AMR, maintaining that sense of familiarity between most of the first responders.
“We plan to move into the same building and most everyone is in the same roles as before,” Hardin said.
Aside from adapting to a new computer system, not much has changed, according to Hardin.
“We’ve got a few new employees but, for the most part, all the employees are pretty much the same,” he said. “I’d say 95 percent of things have stayed the same as before.”
Another unchanging aspect in switching providers has been the ambulances, which are still running with the Yellow Ambulance emblem on the outside. Hardin said AMR purchased Yellow Ambulance’s equipment with plans to re-brand the ambulances’ exterior in the near future.
“We will have three brand new ambulances coming in at the end of the month,” Hardin said. “We’re also getting some new cardiac monitors and ventilators.”
Ambulance crews began training three to four weeks ago for Sunday’s switch to a new provider. Even though many weren’t sure how the transition would go, Hardin said he’s been happy with how positive the crews have been. A pay raise for the entire crew has been a positive as well.
“With changeovers like that, things can get pretty bad, but everyone’s been pretty happy,” he said.