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Tourism takes a toll on medical emergency services

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 9:05 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Our first responders are there for you on what could be the worst day of your life. Anytime you call 911 for medical help, Bay County Emergency Services is ready to go.

“I’d you call for an ambulance, we do come. We don’t ever not come. We do cover our calls,” Bay County EMS Interim Division Chief Danny Page said.

Page said those calls have picked up since spring break, and have shown no signs of slowing down. He said they get anywhere from 80 to 140 calls a day. And with the number of people coming through our area, he said they’re on track to have more than 35,000 calls for the year.

The Panama City Beach Fire Rescue team said they respond to more than 20 calls a day.

“Definitely with the influx of visitors, people visiting Panama City Beach, we definitely have a little uptake in calls,” Panama City Beach firefighter Daryl Paul said.

With so many 911 calls on the line, Chief Page wants to remind everyone what an emergency looks like.

“Calling for an ambulance should really be best reserved for someone who’s having difficulty breathing, having chest pains, having severe bleeding, or what appears to be a truly life-threatening emergency,” Page said.

Because that’s one less ambulance available for someone who needs it.

“I’ve been doing EMS for a long time and for my entire career, we’ve gotten calls for emergencies that really weren’t emergencies. It is particularly prevalent now it seems. And it affects us because we are so busy with other calls,” Page said.

But Page said no emergency is taken lightly. If you call, they’ll be there.

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