Trans-Star now only ambulance service

Published 12:24 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The Harlan County E-911 Board met on Tuesday, addressing the county’s emergency medical services situation after Life-Care Ambulance Service closed its doors on Friday, leaving Trans-Star Ambulance Service the county’s sole ambulance option.

Trans-Star Director of Operations Bert Absher advised the panel Trans-Star Ambulance Service has worked to address the situation since learning Life-Care closed their doors on Friday afternoon.

“We’ve been constantly at work since then,” Absher said. “I want to assure everybody in Harlan County we will meet the need.”

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In an interview following the meeting, Absher explained some of the details of the situation.

“We received notice on Friday at 4 p.m. that Johnson’s Life-Care was going out of business,” Absher said.

Absher said a similar situation occurred in Floyd County in September.

“Really, it was kind of routine for us,” Absher said “I brought in additional resources Friday night and over the weekend. We’re deploying more trucks to Harlan that will be stationed in Harlan. I’ve brought more employees to Harlan. We’re going to respond to the need.”

Absher pointed out his biggest concern is the uneasiness those in the Tri-City community may be experiencing.

“I want them to understand that their EMS (emergency medical services) needs are going to be met,” Absher said. “They’ve never been without coverage, and I’m not going to let that happen.”

Absher pointed out there will be an ambulance always at the ready.

“Trans-Star is the third largest ambulance service in the state,” Absher said. “This was a challenge we were able to overcome almost immediately. I’m not saying we won’t have challenges in the upcoming days because I don’t know what the staffing needs are, but we’re going to meet it.”

Absher said Trans-Star handled all 32 ambulance calls in the county over the weekend with appropriate response times.

“Trans-Star Ambulance service is a proud partner to Harlan County,” Absher said. “We’re going to be here for a long time. We’re going to support this community and its citizens. Our desire is to provide the best services that we possibly can.”

According to Absher, Trans-Star immediately contacted the Harlan County Rescue Squad for help in securing a temporary base in the Tri-City area.

“They have a building across from Pizza Hut in Cumberland, “Absher said. “I never imagined a Trans-Star ambulance would be housed there, but today it is. It’s a temporary thing until we can find a more permanent location or (come to) a more permanent agreement with the rescue squad to share that building.”

Absher mentioned he has been in the business for 26 years and currently resides in Evarts.

“The very first ambulance I ever made a run in was a donation to my hometown…from the Tri-City Rescue Squad,” Absher said. “Our desire is for all of Harlan County to be proud of the EMS agency that represents their county.”

Absher said any resident with concerns about emergency medical services may contact Trans-Star Ambulance Service at 606-886-7030.