Bladen Co leaders pushing for criminal punishment for ambulance - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Bladen Co leaders pushing for criminal punishment for ambulance misuse

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According to emergency officials, some residents of Bladen County are making 911 calls in order to get a ride into Elizabethtown. According to emergency officials, some residents of Bladen County are making 911 calls in order to get a ride into Elizabethtown.

BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Emergency officials in Bladen County are working to be added to a North Carolina general statue that would recognize ambulance misuse as a misdemeanor.

Bladen County Commissioners will vote Tuesday to approve a resolution to be submitted to the NC General Assembly for Bladen County, to be included in NCGS 114-111.3, "Unneeded Ambulance Requests and Recognizing the Unlawful act as a Class 3 misdemeanor."

According to emergency officials, some residents of Bladen County are making 911 calls in order to get a ride into Elizabethtown.

"Normally they are just looking for a ride to town," said Bradley Kinlaw, Emergency Services Director, "they get to the hospital jump off the back of the ambulance and continue on down the road."

Once residents are transported to the hospital, they will walk out of the hospital without receiving any medical treatment, essentially getting a "free" ride.

Bladen County has six ambulances operating during the day to cover 954 square miles in Bladen County. By taking one ambulance out of the rotation for a non-legitimate call, emergency officials are worried that this will cause a slower response to a legitimate medical call.

"We don't have the resources the bigger counties do," said Kinlaw, "so it doesn't take a lot to tax our EMS system. We want our units available for the legit calls."

If Bladen County is added to the NCGS 144-111.3, the Sheriff's Office could charge a person with a misdemeanor for an unneeded ambulance request.

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