Proposed property tax for faster ambulance response in Carter Co.

ARDMORE, OK - In an emergency every second counts. So what if you had to wait up to 30 minutes for emergency crews to arrive? It's a problem The Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service is hoping to solve with a proposed property tax.

The Southern Oklahoma Ambulance Service is based out of Ardmore but serves areas all over Carter County.

A County Wide vote will take place on October the 11th and if voters say yes to the property tax, SOAS said it would significantly cut down on response time.

"On October the 11th, we are asking the Carter County voters to decide on a 3 mill property tax," SOAS executive director Bob Hargis said. "To help with general operations and also to expand so we can cover the service area better."

SOAS will be able to add two more ambulances, bringing the total number to eleven and six to ten more full time personnel.

Dickson Fireman David Conger thinks it's a good idea.

"It's for the voters," Conger said. "I believe it's one of those taxes, I'm like everybody else I don't like taxes but I like to see that I am getting something for my taxes, I believe the ambulance service is necessary, its needed, it will save lives."

They also plan on improving their First Responder training.

"There has also been times where they have had all their trucks tied up elsewhere so even though they are at a ten or fifteen minute normal time, that's when they have trucks at the station," Conger said. "But I have seen longer times, I have probably seen thirty minutes in the past."

Besides more trucks and staff, Hargis said a substation would be placed on the west side of Lone Grove.

SOAS said the station will remain in Healdton, they hope the new station will service the Lone Grove area as well as a backup for Healdton.

They said this will decrease delays in responses due to multiple calls that happen simultaneously.

"I think that people who have used the ambulances understand a little bit more about what we are talking about," Hargis said. "And they appreciate the services a little bit more but what everyone needs to realize that we need to be available for every single call, every single time."

So far this year, SOAS has seen an increase in emergency calls from last year.

"You just never know when you are going to need the services. And you want it to be available as quickly as possible," Hargis said.

Areas that already have the property tax are encouraged by SOAS to still vote, but will see no tax increase.

Voting will take place at area voting polls across Carter County. For more information call (580) 223-1226.

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