UNION COUNTY, N.C. -- Neighbors of rural Union County crowded into the Lanes Creek Volunteer Fire Station Thursday night, concerned that they were going to lose the services of trained paramedics who were there to provide a first response at any given moment.
Three paramedics who drive what is called a 'Quick Response Vehicle' are stationed full time at the fire station.
"My husband had two calls from this station and they were there within five minutes. It probably saved his life," said Melba Zimmerman as she waited for the meeting to start.
Union County Emergency Medical Services Director Scott Shew said it has become necessary to make some cuts, and a study showed the paramedics could better be used on fully equipped ambulances that are stationed around Monroe -- even though the trip down to the eastern and southern reaches of the county could take 12 minutes or more.
"It became evident that this quick response vehicle was one of the least utilized vehicles and resources that we have," said Shew.
But try telling that to Margie Davis, who said the paramedics from Lanes Creek Fire Station saved her life.
"I couldn't breath one night and I have heart problems. When I called they got there in 10 minutes," she said.
Union County's Manager, Cindy Coto said, "We are here to listen to those concerns and to see if there is some way to resolve them."
A decision on the future of the paramedics is expected to be made by the end of the year.