Pasco County Fire Rescue No. 37 has added ambulance service.
The station is at the entrance to Ballantrae in Land O’ Lakes. The new service became effective on Sept. 1.
Six paramedics and emergency medical technicians have been added, to provide 24-hour coverage for the rescue unit.
The station, which is at 18105 State Road 54, is currently using one of the department’s spare vehicles until the new squad arrives, which is expected within a month.
Division Chief Shawn Whited said the service area for the new ambulance is essentially Stonegate to the east and Odessa to the west.
Before the new ambulance service was added, the area was being served by an ambulance coming from the fire station in Trinity, or from the other Land O’ Lakes station, which is at U.S. 41 and State Road 54, Whited said.
“If the ambulance for Land O’ Lakes was out, because that was the only ambulance for Land O’ Lakes, we’d get one from either Wesley Chapel or Trinity,” Whited said.
“We had a big gap there,” he said.
The county has been able to send emergency responders because all of the county’s fire trucks have advanced life support, but they had to wait for a rescue unit to transport patients to the hospital, Whited said.
Getting the additional coverage is important because population continues to increase in the area near Station 37, he said, noting that Bexley, Longlake Ranch and Concord Station are growing communities.
“That Land O’ Lakes area between the Suncoast Parkway and (U.S.) 41 is one of the largest growing areas in Pasco County,” Whited said. “With all of those homes, we want to make sure they have proper fire and EMS coverage in there.
“Now, if you’re having a true medical emergency, like a heart attack or a stroke, we can get you to the hospital faster — without having to wait for that unit to come from Land O’ Lakes or Trinity or Wesley Chapel,” he said.
Published November 8, 2017