Meridian Star

March 11, 2013

Metro ramping up on calls

By Brian Livingston /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     For anyone who works in downtown Meridian, the sound of sirens reverberating off the buildings during the daylight hours is something you just have to get used to.

    For Clayton Cobler, who is the manager for Metro Ambulance, the frequency of those sirens winding up as the ambulances speed off on another call, has been getting more and more numerous.

    "We've been busy," said Cobler. "But I feel like we are prepared for anything we come up against. We are doing fine."

    Soon after the former ambulance service left Meridian leaving the city and county without any ambulance service, Metro Ambulance stepped in to provide emergency services. On April 1, 1980, Metro began providing the service and hasn't looked back since. Metro Ambulance fits underneath the umbrella of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors as a service to the county and Meridian.

    In the following decades, Metro Ambulance has evolved utilizing the latest technology available at the time. Now, the service of the 21st Century has added more ambulances, more certified paramedics and more life saving instruments than ever before.

    "We are adding technology that will enable us to be far more efficient than ever before," Cobler said. "We are excited about the things we have in the very near future."

    One of those tools will be a 12-lead hear monitor that will enable paramedics to send virtually in real time the readouts to doctors before the patient even arrives. Cobler said this will be vital in the care of the patient in the sense the doctors can vector the ambulance to either their heart cath facility or the emergency room.

    Mother Nature has a way of making emergency services nervous because of the devastation she can wreck on an area. For this reason, Cobler said a converted school bus will come in handy in situations where multiple patients have to be transported.

    "For anyone who has seen the TV show MASH this bus will look familiar. Well, the inside anyway," Cobler said. "The bus will allow us to transport up to a dozen patients plus a couple more in wheel chairs."

    The bus, equipped with a generator and air conditioner, will place the patients in suspended racks with room for medical gear and other equipment. The bus, when it is needed, will save lives and move more people quicker than tying up several ambulances that may be needed elsewhere.

    And speaking of elsewhere, or more accurately out in the middle of nowhere, Cobler said a dually truck has been purchased to pull the trailer on which Metro Ambulance's Kubota ATV rests. The ATV was used in the retrieval of the body of a man who drowned in the Chunky River recently.

    Cobler said the ATV gives paramedics the ability to get into backwoods areas far off the beaten path. In the instances of someone who has become lost in a wooded area or for a deer hunter who is seriously injured, the ATV brought in close by the big truck can make a huge difference in getting the victim out of the woods and to a hospital.