Officials from Mt. Juliet, Wilson County, Fire Department of Mt. Juliet and the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency held a joint work session Monday night to discuss the future of ambulance service in Mt. Juliet.
The Wilson County Commission approved resolutions earlier this year to secure land for two future WEMA stations in Mt. Juliet. WEMA currently shares space with the Fire Department of Mt. Juliet at its Belinda Parkway station and Station 3 — located on East Hill Drive — locations, which are owned by Mt. Juliet. The approved resolutions would move personnel from those stations into the future WEMA.
WEMA Station 12 will be located on Clemmons Road near Mt. Juliet Fire Department’s Station 3. The second property will combine three tracts of land totaling 2.9 acres on Central Pike for WEMA Station 14, which will be a four-bay station.
Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said the new stations will be completed in about two years. Mt. Juliet commissioners said they would hold additional work sessions to analyze its options before reporting to the Wilson County Emergency Management Agency Committee.
The main options discussed Monday included equipping Mt. Juliet fire trucks with Advanced Life Support (ALS) equipment, which is the highest level of equipment available for the fire trucks or contracting with a private ambulance service for the city.
Mt. Juliet Commissioner Ray Justice said he believes the best course of action is bringing a private ambulance service for the southern portion of Mt. Juliet.
“I see that probably the most affected is the Del Webb area up there, but if we got a private ambulance up there that could come in and be exclusive to Del Webb and be exclusive to south Mt. Juliet, then I think that’s where we wind up going with this,” Justice said.
Some Del Webb residents voiced concerns about the county move, which could increase ambulance response time for the area. However, officials noted equipping the Mt. Juliet fire trucks with ALS equipment will allow for IV therapy, defibrillation, bleeding control and similar treatments prior to an ambulance’s arrival.
Commissioner Bill Trivett said his concern with a private ambulance service is the possibility of the company pulling out of Mt. Juliet if they do not make enough revenue.
WEMA provided fire protection for Mt. Juliet prior to the Fire Department of Mt. Juliet’s creation in 2014. Hutto said WEMA used Mt. Juliet ambulances and fire trucks to put out Mt. Juliet fires.
Hutto said former Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty approached him in the 2014-2015 fiscal year and asked for rent of $20,000 from Wilson County because it was still using the facilities after the city created its own fire department.
Hutto said the county paid utilities for the facilities — about $30,000 — and Hagerty dismissed the request for rent.