By Valerie Reddell
Tyler County residents will join those in 70 other Texas counties and Louisiana parishes who are served by Acadian Ambulance following the purchase of Dogwood EMS — a transition that will be finalized at 12:01 a.m. Feb. 20, according to Brandon Hebert, Acadian's Director of Operations.
Acadian made the announcement of the purchase to employees and the community on Feb. 5. They began orientation for current Dogwood EMS employees who want to make the transition to Acadian on Friday, Feb. 9.
That session was part of a five-day orientation that's underway here in Woodville for Dogwood employees who will continue to serve in Tyler County after the transition.
Acadian Ambulances are currently stationed in Tyler County, in addition to the two Dogwood EMS units, to ensure there are no gaps in coverage, Hebert said.
The crews will continue to use the station at 109 Live Oak Street in Woodville.
Once Acadian begins handling EMS calls through its communications center, Hebert says Tyler County residents will see more rapid response when patients need to be transported quickly to a medical center offered advanced cardiovascular or trauma care by AirMed aircraft.
"We have a helicopter in Silsbee that will be available," Hebert said. "We will also use the aircraft in Lufkin and Beaumont if that is necessary."
Acadian has protocols in place that will autolaunch the aircraft when dispatchers are able to determine that the air unit will be needed, and weather conditions allow air transport.
"We may be able to screen (the patient) to get the aircraft up sooner," Hebert said.
While Hebert couldn't be specific about which Dogwood EMS employees will go to work for Acadian during an interview on Feb. 9, he said "several key people" are participating in the orientation.
"We will have people that know the area and are experts in the community," Hebert said. "All the football games, rodeo and other event coverage that the community has come to expect from Dogwood EMS will continue."
Additionally, during periods of high demand or incidents with multiple patients, Acadian can call on a "near endless depth of resources" from surrounding counties to help meet patient needs.
"It's our plan that we will be able to provide a good service to the county," Hebert said.
While county officials did not play any role in the transaction between two privately held businesses, County Judge Jacques Blanchette said he appreciates the company's interest in Tyler County.
"We look forward to an ongoing, continual, successful relationship with the familiar faces at Dogwood who will transition to Acadian."
Dogwood EMS has been the sole provider of ambulance services dispatched through the Tyler County's 911 operations center since 2005.