THOMAS CO., GA (WALB) - Tuesday, marked a historic moment for Thomas County residents.
It was the first time an ambulance has ever pulled out of Fire Station 8 in Ochlocknee.
This means more than just another truck in service, it means faster response times that could possibly save a life.
"When I came here 50 plus years ago, the ambulance service was the funeral home. When you talk about coming a long way, you've come a long way here in Thomas County," said Sheriff Carlton Powell.
Before the truck was in service, the average response time was 22 minutes in rural areas.
Fire officials said that could soon drop to 5 to 8 minutes with the new truck.
"This is a new beginning for us, I never thought I'd see it in my lifetime," said Emergency Medical Director Tim Coram.
This new ambulance and future plans for better service in other rural areas of Thomas County will impact around 4,400 people.
"A hometown fire department and hometown heroes taking care of their neighbors. It means something to see a familiar face when you or your loved one is in need," said Chris Jones.
The new ambulance will service Ochlocknee, Meigs, Barnetts Creek and the Lake Riverside district.
"I couldn't be more excited about the direction we are taking. We are finally realizing the dream we started out with, all those years back," said County Manager Mike Stephenson.
A new truck and one new staff member will make all the difference in the world to those who live in the areas surrounding Station 8.
Over the next two years, Thomas County officials plan to also add ambulances to the Boston and Coolidge stations.
Firefighters at those stations will be cross trained for emergency medical services.
Commissioners said that it will give them more flexibility when it comes to answering medical calls.
They are also planning to add Advanced Life Support units at those stations.
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