Emergency response times could increase in Colbert if vote passes

COLBERT, Okla. (KXII) -- Monday night a vote was on the line in Colbert, that could mean people who live in and around the city might have to wait anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes for an ambulance.

City council decided to put off voting on it until next month.

The plan would give Colbert and nearby areas about four days per week of 24/7 EMS coverage based in town.

The other three days would be covered by Bryan County EMS which is about 15 miles farther away.

That could lead to up to 30 minute response times to some locations coming from Durant, compared to five minutes from Colbert.

Mayor Roxanne Reed did not want a discussion tonight about EMS hours or pay.

In Colbert, they make $9 an hour. Bryan County EMS says their workers start out at $16 an hour.

At the meeting, Reed said they're trying to reduce overtime hours for EMS by bringing in Bryan County EMS to help.

Right now in Colbert, there are four full-time EMS workers and four part-time providing 24-7 coverage.

These EMS workers said that means up to 20 hours overtime a week.

This proposed plan would cap their hours at 48 per week without increased pay.

Colbert EMS covers Achille, Cartwright, Colbert, Hendrix, Kemp and Yuba.

"It could cost a life. I wouldn't be comfortable with it," said Achille Fire Chief David Conner.

"I'm saddened that we're not able to give them more than 9 dollars an hour, and now we're wanting to cut their overtime, and then we can't discuss it," said Heather Flanagan, who lives in Colbert.

Bryan County EMS would also station workers in Calera for faster response times to the area.

But they said it could still take up to 20 minutes to respond to Colbert.

For now, Colbert EMS workers will keep providing round the clock coverage.