Jefferson County Commission

County Works With Cities for Quicker Emergency Response Times in Unincorporated Areas

Jimmie Stephens said the decline in complaints about lengthy emergency response times in Jefferson County is no accident.

The president of the Jefferson County Commission said it is because the county has established agreements to partner with municipal fire and rescue departments throughout the county to provide service beyond the limits of their town or city.

During Thursday’s County Commission meeting at the Bessemer Criminal Justice Building, commissioners passed the latest two of more than a dozen resolutions to allot American Rescue Plan Act funds to departments in the county.

An ARPA Beneficiary Agreement with McCalla Area Fire District allotted $206,158.93 and another provided the city of Vestavia Hills $168,946.80, each to provide for ambulances and equipment.

“These are municipalities that have worked an agreement out with the fire districts,” Stephens said. “What we’re giving them are the tools to have that joint agreement to where they can go outside the city limits without the burden of removing one of their prime units designated to go inside the municipality.

Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens in a 1.25.24 meeting. (Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

“This gives them an extra set of wheels,” the commission president said.  “We want to make sure when we do that, that they have the personnel to man that (vehicle). We almost have them all distributed now and you haven’t heard much about slow response times anymore.”

Stephens said the county has used ARPA monies to buy 18 ambulances that have been distributed among 16 municipalities to reduce the response times and to help save lives.

“That’s from 18 months of hard, hard, hard work to make sure that they were in the right place,” he said. “They go from Warrior to Birmingport to Hoover to Vestavia. These are municipalities and fire districts that have pledged to work together. Fultondale, Fairfield – they’ve all pledged to work together and it’s working. It’s working.”