by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner – thegazebogazette@gmail.com or hdawkins@supertalk.fm

After hearing from a few elected county officials at Monday’s meeting, setting up a unique committee to investigate the services that were provided by American Medical Response (AMR) last year, and the city of Biloxi choosing to go with Pafford EMS in December 2023, the Harrison County Emergency Management (EMA) Director Matt Stratton expressed the committee’s recommendation was to negotiate a contract with Acadian Ambulance Service and the county Board of Supervisors unanimously passed.  This was the first time in 50 years Harrison County chose not to use AMR as the chief provider of services within the county.

The contract is supposed to be negotiated next week at the Harrison County board meeting in Biloxi Monday, February 12, 2024.

Back in September of 2023, The Harrison County Board of Supervisors chose to appoint a first-of-its-kind committee to oversee its ambulance service.  The county’s contract with AMR was at the end and there were plenty of local concerns regarding the company’s delayed response to emergencies across the coast.  The committee was made up of the county’s EMA Director Matt Stratton, then-Sheriff, now County Administrator Troy Peterson and Fire Chief Pat Sullivan, along with all six cities’ fire chiefs.

Since 1974, AMR has served the Mississippi coastal counties for more than four decades. AMR employs nearly 300 South Mississippians to over 30,000 patients every year throughout Harrison and Hancock Counties.

Acadian Ambulance became the 911 provider in Jackson County in 2000 and began operations in Desoto County in 2022.

The city of Biloxi decided to break away from AMR on December 19, 2023 and approve a contract with Pafford Emergency Management Services (EMS).  Both cities of Biloxi and Gulfport have broken away from the county contract for emergency management services.

In the Pafford EMS contract with Biloxi, they will be required to have a minimum of five Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances responding to calls, with a maximum of eight based on demand. Each of those ambulances will have a paramedic on staff. For response times, there is a 10-minute requirement for life-threatening calls and a 15-minute requirement for non-life-threatening calls.

District 2 Supervisor Rebecca Powers was absent.