Letcher County will have a second Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance service beginning in about 10 days.
Letcher Fire and Rescue, which was facing financial collapse last year, has announced it will add paramedics to its roster pending approval of state inspectors.
Letcher had an ALS ambulance service beginning in the late 1970s, but has had only a Basic Life Support (BLS) service for at least 15 years. Neon Fire Rescue operates an Advanced Life Support system under a countywide license, but only responds to Letcher’s license area when asked for mutual aid.
The nearest Neon ambulance is based in Whitesburg, about 10 miles from the Letcher Fire Department, but it could come from Neon, which is about 20 miles from the Letcher station. That can stretch the time it takes for a paramedic to reach a patient by as much as a half-hour because of road conditions and traffic.