COLBERT, Okla. (KXII) The Bryan County Sheriff’s Office has been covering for Colbert's lack of a police force for the last couple months, now talk of Colbert EMS problems has people worried the county will have to take over their ambulance service, as well.
It's a move some residents say would put them in serious danger.
"We don't even feel safe going out in our own yards,” Colbert resident Misty Crabtree said. “So now if something happens, your life is in more of a threat of taking longer to get a responder."
Colbert EMS posted a statement on their Facebook Thursday morning, saying “Contrary to any rumors, Colbert EMS is NOT closing down OR being "taken over."
The license for Colbert EMS expired on June 30.
Off camera, employees said the issue with renewing the license began with the resignation of their director last month, and got worse when their assistant director resigned at the end of June.
Bryan County EMS Director Brian Norton said they're stretched thin since Eastern Bryan County EMS dissolved back in January, a move made permanent a couple days ago.
"Couple times it's been a little rough having our ambulances that far out and our normal call volume but everybody's managed,” Norton said. “A lot of the local fire departments have kind of stepped up in those areas and they’re doing a lot of fire response for us and still trying to provide people they best kind of care they can.”
Colbert EMS told News12 they are in the process of renewing their license and filling their director position.
“If something happens with my kid, if they can’t get there immediately then what? Our lives are in danger.” Local Chelsey Watkins said. “If we can't have the crime stop, then we need someone to be there when something happens, too. And if we can't get both were kind of screwed."
“The sheriff has to come out almost weekly around the block that I live in because of shootings or something that’s gone wrong,” Crabtree said.
The Oklahoma State Department of Health said Colbert EMS is still operating legally under a grace period that expires on July 30.
Norton said no matter what happens with the department down the road, every Colbert resident will get an ambulance when they need one, whether it be Colbert EMS or Bryan County.