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Southside Fire to acquire Coastal EMS

Southside Fire & EMS has agreed to purchase Coastal EMS from MetroAtlanta Ambulance Service of Marietta, further solidifying its position as the dominant provider of emergency services in the county.

The deal will be final April 28.

Southside Fire & EMS operates Mercy Ambulance Service in Chatham County and is the current 911 provider of emergency medical services in the county.

Chuck Kearns, Southside Fire & EMS chief executive officer, said the agreement with MetroAtlanta comes as a result of careful and thoughtful planning, looking toward the future emergency and non-emergency medical needs for the citizens of Chatham County and the greater-Savannah area.

“The combination of these two entities will allow us to now have one company that manages the majority of EMS processes for Chatham County,” Kearns said Friday.

“This is a positive step for our employees, volunteers and the citizens of Chatham County.”

Kearns said a nondisclosure agreement with MetroAtlanta prevents him from discussing financial details of the transaction.

Coastal EMS, which had five ambulances in the area, was primarily a non-emergency transport service operating between hospitals and nursing homes. It was not in the regular dispatch rotation for 911 calls, Kearns said.

Coastal will retain its ambulances, bringing them back to the Atlanta area, where MetroAtlanta is growing as the dominant EMS provider.

From Coastal, Southside will get numerous contractual agreements, several non-emergency transport vans and personnel.

“We have invited all Coastal employees to apply to Mercy,” Kearns said. “If they meet our employment qualifications, they will be hired.”

Southside has ordered seven new ambulances, the first of which has already been delivered. The remaining new ambulances will be on line by early summer, Kearns said, giving Mercy a total of 42 fully equipped emergency transport vehicles.

Mercy Ambulance responded to more than 60,000 calls last year, operating out of a high-tech communications center located in a building with reserve generators built to withstand a Category 4 hurricane.

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Founded in 1961, Southside Fire Department is a community-based not for profit Fire and EMS department. Southside is owned by the citizens of unincorporated Chatham County who subscribe to their services. Fire protection from the department covers 245 square miles with over 120,000 people, while emergency medical response covers 630 square miles with a population of 276,000 people. Southside operates with a team of 450 local personnel, both paid and volunteer, exemplifying safety and protection“for the community, by the community.”


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