Guilford County’s ambulance service has been under a great deal of strain in 2021 and the county is now getting a little bit of help in that regard through state agencies.  

However, that help looks something like a drop in the bucket given the extent of the crisis. 

In early September, Guilford County Emergency Services Director Jim Albright spoke to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners about an ambulance service crisis in the county and the severe need for outside help.  He asked the commissioners to change the county’s ordinances to allow for him to bring in some service providers on an emergency basis.

The board honored Albright’s request and changed the county’s ordinances to allow emergency help for the existing ambulance service. However, at that time, Albright warned that the ambulance shortage was so bad just about everywhere right now that the county might not be able to find the help it needs.

On Friday, Oct. 15, Albright said the county would be seeing some relief.

“The North Carolina Office of EMS Services, along with NC Emergency Management, assigned us three ambulances through the FEMA national ambulance contract,” he told the Rhino Times.

Any new ambulances – even three – help the situation somewhat, but days later Albright got some bad news.

“That number was reduced to two as they reassigned units throughout the state,” Albright said. 

In early September, Albright stated in his presentation to the county commissioners that these were “desperate times” when it came to ambulance service in Guilford County.

The ambulance shortage and the long response times are largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Albright told the commissioners last month that response times in Guilford County have risen to unacceptable levels as the number of calls for service had increased dramatically.