Dunn’s Ambulance Service no longer operating in Carlinville

Dunn’s Ambulance Service no longer operating in Carlinville

CARLINVILLE (Oct. 4, 2018) – As of 7 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 27, Carlinville is again served by only one ambulance service, as Dunn’s Ambulance Service has ceased operating within the city.

Carlinville Mayor Deanna Demuzio said Dunn’s was unable to comply with city ordinances requiring two advanced life support (ALS) ambulances to be present in Carlinville 24/7. “They were providing basic life support, but not ALS,” said Demuzio, noting that sometimes an ambulance call would go out and Dunn’s would respond but not be able to provide the care that was needed, so Gillespie-Benld Area Ambulance Service (GBAAS), which has ALS ambulances, would be called for backup.

Paula Bantner-Dunn, president of Dunn’s Ambulance Service, said the decision was made to cease operations in Carlinville was made because “The call volume in Carlinville cannot support two ambulance services. The city of Carlinville ordinance requires any ambulance service operating in the community to have two ALS units. With Gillespie bringing one or two ALS ambulances to town, our call volume decreased to the point this was no longer affordable.”

Demuzio said that, a few weeks ago, Dunn requested the city change the ordinance, but the Public Safety Committee did not feel comfortable doing that. “Because she was unable to comply with our ordinance, she decided that they were going to leave,” said Demuzio.

GBAAS began operating in Carlinville as of July 1 as the sole ALS provider, keeping two ambulances  and staff housed at Carlinville Fire District around the clock. “Those ambulances leave town quite frequently to transport critically ill or injured patients from Carlinville Hospital,” said Ross. “Any time that both of our Carlinville units are on calls or transfers, another ALS ambulance responds from Gillespie to Carlinville to provide coverage before another call comes in, and in many circumstances vice versa. This has never been done before and, in fact, GBAAS would frequently be dispatched to emergency calls in Carlinville when there were lapses in coverage. These responses resulted in delayed responses and delayed patient care.”

In an effort to quell rumors that have been floating around,  Ross added, “We did not make this move with the intent of putting anyone ‘out of business’ nor any other negative motive that you may have heard. Quite simply, we noted that there was a need that was not being fulfilled and we stepped up to fill it.” Ross said GBAAS has a “tremendous relationship” with Carlinville Fire Protection District and that, as of Sept. 15, the fire district has been licensed at the Emergency First Responder level and have been assisting GBAAS with responding to calls.

“The only change that people may see is that GBAAS will now be the primary responding ambulance agency, along with Carlinville Fire Protection District to rural locations beyond the city limits of Carlinville instead of providing backup or ALS upgrade to those areas,” said Ross. “There will be no gaps or lapses in coverage. Most importantly, we want to make clear that this expansion into Carlinville is not an experiment or just some business enterprise. We believe that the residents of Carlinville and the surrounding area deserve the same level of care and service that we have provided to the residents of Gillespie, Benld, Wilsonville, Mt. Clare, Sawyerville, Dorchester and Eagarville since our founding. It is the same high level of care that we have provided to the residents of Mt. Olive and White City since 2009. It is a commitment that our Board of Directors did not take lightly, adding two additional ambulances to our fleet and 12 full-time staff.”

Ross also noted that this will not change service for the other communities GBAAS covers. “To be clear, for our Gillespie, Benld, Mt. Olive residents, this does not in any way degrade nor diminish the coverage and service that we provided prior to this expansion. We do not view Carlinville and its residents as an extension but rather an expansion of our home and a community that we are completely committed to, whether we’ve been there since our founding, nine years or three months… We hope that the residents of Carlinville have been and will continue to be as pleased with the care and service that they have and will receive as we are to provide it.”

“Dunn’s Ambulance Service, Inc., is proud of the service we provided to the citizens of Carlinville and the surrounding communities,” said Bantner-Dunn. “We made a difference in many lives since 2005 when the hospital needed to get out of the ambulance business. A few employees who Dunn’s inherited from the hospital were with us until nearly the end; those friendships will forever be cherished. We thank everyone who supported us over the last 13 years.”