TURNER CO., GA (WALB) - Six months after Turner County closed one of its EMS stations, the agency's director said that call response times have actually gone down.
"Lot of disgruntled citizens not just on the west side, but on the east side of the tracks," said Turner County EMS Director Robby Royal.
After the Turner County Board of Commissioners decided to close EMS Station 2, several people came out against the decision, because the now-closed branch sat on the west side of railroad tracks in Ashburn.
Concerns came up that ambulances would get stopped by trains in life-threatening emergencies.
On December 28, 2017, a group brought up to the Turner County Board of Commissioners that it wanted EMS station 2, which closed due to budget cuts on July 1, 2017, back open.
"A ministerial association came and spoke to the commission, and just asked them to reconsider re-opening station 2 over at Eureka," explained Royal.
However, Royal said he has data showing response times have actually gone down since the branch closure.
According to Royal, Turner County EMS's average call response time went down 3 minutes from the first half of 2017 to the second half, after station 2 closed.
He said only one call was delayed by a train after station 2 closed. That delay lasted 5 or 6 minutes.
"Fortunately, it was a non-emergency," Royal explained. "If it had been an emergency, would it have been a different outcome, absolutely. I'm not going to sit here and lie about that."
With station 2's closure, though, Royal said he can't guarantee something bad won't happen in the future.
"Is there going to be that one case in the future where it could possibly be detrimental? I can't say that it will or it won't be," Royal said.
During the day, Royal and his secretary will respond to calls if another ambulance is already out, to pick up the slack left by station 2's closing.