Marietta EMS donating Quitman County's 1st ambulances

A small, southwest Georgia County is receiving a much-needed donation from a Marietta emergency medical service.

On Wednesday, MetroAtlanta Ambulance is donating two ambulances to Georgetown-Quitman County. The county has been the only one in Georgia without access to an EMS.

Georgetown-Quitman County, about 40 miles from Columbus and 77 miles from Montgomery, Ala., has a population of fewer than 1,000.

Quitman County Commission Chairman Richard Morris said residents would have to wait up to two hours for an ambulance.

“Two-hour waits place lives in danger, and we can’t have that,” Morris said in a statement.

Providing emergency medical services is expensive, said Sam Cunningham, Region VII EMS coordinator.

“There just isn’t enough tax revenue generated or call volume in Quitman County to adequately pay for the EMS services needed,” he said. “A private service depends on call volume to generate revenue and Georgetown-Quitman doesn’t have enough calls to make it a profitable or even break-even business.”

Cunningham said the area couldn't even provide volunteer services as a possible alternative until recently.

“We also found that not a single resident living in Georgetown-Quitman County is certified as an emergency medical technician,” he said.

Georgetown-Quitman County is receiving a new fully-equipped ambulance for a primary response unit and an additional ambulance for backup. MetroAtlanta Ambulance will also provide dispatch services and billing services at no cost to Quitman residents.

Quitman County is expected to generate revenue to maintain an affordable service.

The donation is valued at about $120,000.