Coffee Co. Emergency Response Set Back

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An elderly couple in rural Coffee County believes lives are in danger by the long distances involved in receiving emergency medical help. Retired Methodist Minister Rex Mixon nearly lost his wife after waiting for an ambulance.

Recently, Reverend Rex Mixon says he nearly lost his wife of 55-years, Margaret Mixon almost died after her heart pacemaker malfunctioned. After waiting more than 30-minutes for an ambulance, Reverand Mixon took his wife by car to the hospital where she recovered.

Reverand Mixon says he and his neighbors receive emergency response from Elba, nearly a 45-minute trip.

"If we had a substation in victories, it would take 10 or 15 minutes and that would be very helpful. I want to say that Elba does a good job but I think it would be easier for Enterprise on this side of the county," said Rev. Mixon.

Margaret Mixon said, "They just don't sleep at night, constant concern about us receiving medical care."

Living within just a mile of the Dale County line, getting emergency response from say Ozark or Ariton would be easier; however, the calls instead go to Elba.

Elba Emergency Rescue Director Pat Crosby says the driving distances are a real problem. Sometimes, Crosby feels response can be quicker out of Enterprise.

"It is difficult. We have two crews, 24k-hours a day. But in some areas of the northern areas it takes something like 25-minutes especially around the Pike and Dale county line," said Crosby.

The Coffee County Commission is expected to look at emergency response time at its next workshop session in July.

Reverend Mixon says due to the slow emergency response time. He and his wife may be forced to sell their home in order to be closer to a medical facility.